Organic matter from Neoproterozoic and Early Cambrian sediments of the Amadeus and Officer basins of the Centralian Superbasin, Australia, has been studied for biomarker distributions and the carbon isotopic compositions of kerogen and individual hydrocarbons. These sediments represent both shallow and deep water marine facies in the older sections and marine and saline lacustrine carbonate deposits in the Cambrian. Hydrocarbon biomarker patterns were found to be quite consistent with the known sedimentary environments and provide valuable insights into the biogeochemical changes which accompanied the transition from a microbially-dominated ocean to the early stages of metazoan radiation. In particular, carbon isotopic data for n-alkyl and isoprenoid lipids presented here, and in earlier studies, showed a reversal in carbon isotopic ordering between the Proterozoic and Phanerozoic. By comparison with the δ13C of kerogen, n-alkyl lipids from deep-water Proterozoic sediments were enriched in 13C and appear to be derived mainly from heterotrophs whilst open marine Phanerozoic counterparts are 13C depleted and evidently derived mainly from autotrophs. Data from the samples studied here are consistent with a model invoking a change in the redox structure of the ocean, possibly aided by the innovation of faecal pellets.
|Number of pages||19|
|Journal||Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta|
|Publication status||Published - Dec 1997|