U–Pb Zircon Age of an Ordovician Tuff in Southeast Yukon: Implications for the Age of the Cambrian–Ordovician Boundary

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Three conodont fossil occurrences stratigraphically above and below a rhyolitic tuff in the Lower Ordovician Crow Formation, southeast Yukon, constrain the tuff to the early Tremadocian Rossodus manitouensis Zone and possibly the Rossodus tenuis Zone. U–Pb dates were obtained from zircon from the tuff that was imaged with cathodoluminescence and chemically abraded to reduce the likelihood of dating grains that contain older components or suffered Pb loss, respectively. Six dates from grains with oscillatory parallel zoning are equivalent, with a weighted mean 206Pb/238U date of 491.04 ± 0.13 Ma. These grains are interpreted as being primary volcanic crystals, and the date is therefore taken as the depositional age of the tuff. Four other dates from grains with sector zoning are slightly older, up to 492.0 Ma, and are interpreted as inherited or recycled from earlier volcanics. The currently defined Cambrian–Ordovician boundary is inferred to be below the tuff and separated from it by at least two conodont biostratigraphic zones that are estimated to span at least 2.25 Ma based on the top of the Rhabdinopora flabelliformis parabola graptolite zone being older than the base of the Rossodus tenuis conodont zone. We interpret the evidence in southeast Yukon to suggest that the global Cambrian–Ordovician boundary is older (>493.3 Ma) than previous estimates of 488 and 491 Ma based upon legacy 207Pb/206Pb zircon ages.