Eustatic Sea-Level Fall and Global Fluctuations in Carbonate Production During the Carnian Pluvial Episode

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In this paper, sea-level fluctuations during the Carnian Pluvial Episode (CPE) are investigated. A revision of published data from multiple successions worldwide indicates a sea-level drop that occurred in different geodynamic settings after the onset of the first of multiple carbon-isotope perturbations that characterize the CPE. New stable isotope data, zircon U-Pb geochronology, carbonate petrology, conodont and foraminifer biostratigraphy from the Carnian of the Sichuan Basin and comparison to the well-dated coeval successions of the Dolomites allow pinpointing with unprecedented precision this sea-level fall and determine that it occurred after the onset of the first, but prior to the third negative δ13C shift of the CPE. These lines of evidence indicate that such sea-level oscillation was eustatic. Facies analysis and sequence stratigraphy of units deposited during the ensuing sea-level rise in the Sichuan and Dolomites, further show that a Tethys-wide crisis of microbial carbonate production and drowning of carbonate platforms were followed by a recovery of marine calcification, widely testified by the deposition of oolitic bodies. Whereas a Tethys-wide recovery of microbial carbonate production is documented at the end of the Carnian, this increase in chemical calcification occurred earlier, at the beginning of the Tuvalian, and suggest that global transformations in carbonate systems coincident with the CPE were complex and share commonalities with other times in the geological record when a similar evolution was linked to ocean acidification.


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