Mo isotopic composition of the mid-Neoproterozoic ocean: an iron formation perspective

Baldwin, Geoffrey J.; Nägler, Thomas F.; Greber, Nicolas; Turner, Elizabeth C.; Kamber, Balz S. (2013). Mo isotopic composition of the mid-Neoproterozoic ocean: an iron formation perspective. Precambrian research, 230, pp. 168-178. Elsevier 10.1016/j.precamres.2013.02.011

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NOTICE: this is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Precambrian Research. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was accepted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Prec. Res., 230, 168–178. doi: 10.1016/j.precamres.2013.02.011

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The Neoproterozoic was a major turning point in Earth's surficial history, recording several widespread glaciations, the first appearance of complex metazoan life, and a major increase in atmospheric oxygen. Marine redox proxies have resulted in many different estimates of both the timing and magnitude of the increase in free oxygen, although the consensus has been that it occurred following the Marinoan glaciation, the second globally recorded “snowball Earth” event. A critically understudied rock type of the Neoproterozoic is iron formation associated with the Sturtian (first) glaciation. Samples from the <716 Ma Rapitan iron formation were analysed for their Re concentrations and Mo isotopic composition to refine the redox history of its depositional basin. Rhenium concentrations and Re/Mo ratios are consistently low throughout the bottom and middle of the iron formation, reflecting ferruginous to oxic basinal conditions, but samples from the uppermost jasper layers of the iron formation show significantly higher Re concentrations and Re/Mo ratios, indicating that iron formation deposition was terminated by a shift towards a sulfidic water column. Similarly, the δ98Mo values are close to 0.0‰ throughout most of the iron formation, but rise to ~+0.7‰ near the top of the section. The δ98Mo from samples of ferruginous to oxic basinal conditions are the product of adsorption to hematite, indicating that the Neoproterozoic open ocean may have had a δ98Mo of ~1.8‰. Together with the now well-established lack of a positive Eu anomaly in Neoproterozoic iron formations, these results suggest that the ocean was predominantly oxygenated at 700 Ma.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


08 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geological Sciences

UniBE Contributor:

Nägler, Frank Thomas, Greber, Nicolas


500 Science > 550 Earth sciences & geology








Thomas Nägler-Jenni

Date Deposited:

09 May 2014 19:50

Last Modified:

02 Mar 2023 23:24

Publisher DOI:


Uncontrolled Keywords:

Mo isotopes, Rhenium, Neoproterozoic, Iron formation




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