Oxygen isotope analysis of the eyes of pelagic trilobites: testing the application of sea temperature proxies for the Ordovician

Bennett, C. E. et al. (2018) Oxygen isotope analysis of the eyes of pelagic trilobites: testing the application of sea temperature proxies for the Ordovician. Gondwana Research, 57, pp. 157-169. (doi:10.1016/j.gr.2018.01.006)

Bennett, C. E. et al. (2018) Oxygen isotope analysis of the eyes of pelagic trilobites: testing the application of sea temperature proxies for the Ordovician. Gondwana Research, 57, pp. 157-169. (doi:10.1016/j.gr.2018.01.006)

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Abstract

The oxygen isotope composition of well-preserved trilobite eye calcite, retaining its original optical properties, represents a possible source of information on Paleozoic sea temperatures. Species of the epipelagic telephinid genera Carolinites and Opipeuterella from strata of Early to Middle Ordovician age in Spitsbergen and Australia were analyzed, and compared with benthic asaphid species. Scanning electron microscope (SEM), cathodoluminescence (CL), electron microprobe and Electron Backscatter Diffraction (EBSD) techniques were used to assess eye preservation prior to isotope analysis. Some apparently well-preserved eyes are identified from the Valhallfonna (Spitsbergen) and Emanuel (Australia) formations. The eyes show a wide variation in δ18O values: −6.2‰ to −9.8‰ for the Valhallfonna Formation, −3.2‰ to −10.4‰ for the Emanuel Formation, and −3.6‰ to −7.4‰ for the Horn Valley Siltstone (Australia). Intra-eye Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry (SIMS) isotope results reveal an even larger range in δ18O in some specimens (δ18O of −2.4‰ to −10.4‰), suggesting that the trilobite eyes have undergone cryptic recrystallization. A sub-set of trilobite cuticle from the three formations were analyzed for their carbonate clumped isotope compositions (Δ47), and yielded crystallization temperatures above 50 °C, consistent with diagenetic alteration. The SIMS and Δ47 results suggest that classic preservation assessment protocols for the stable isotope study of deep-time carbonate samples may be insufficient, especially for these techniques. There is a need for extensive microstructural characterization of lower Paleozoic biogenic carbonates, by techniques including EBSD, SIMS and Δ47, before their stable isotope signatures can be used with certainty in paleoclimate studies.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Owen, Dr Alan and Lee, Professor Martin
Authors: Bennett, C. E., Williams, M., Leng, M. J., Lee, M. R., Bonifacie, M., Calmels, D., Fortey, R. A., Laurie, J. R., Owen, A. W., Page, A. A., Munnecke, A., and Vandenbroucke, T. R.A.
Subjects:Q Science > QE Geology
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > School of Geographical and Earth Sciences > Earth Sciences
Research Group:Earth Systems
Journal Name:Gondwana Research
Publisher:Elsevier
ISSN:1342-937X
ISSN (Online):1878-0571
Published Online:18 February 2018
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2018 International Association for Gondwana Research.
First Published:First published in Gondwana Research 57:157-169
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher

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