Journal article

Oxygenation history of the Neoproterozoic to early Phanerozoic and the rise of land plants

Malcolm W Wallace, Ashleigh VS Hood, Alice Shuster, Alan Greig, Noah J Planavsky, Christopher P Reed

Earth and Planetary Science Letters | Elsevier | Published : 2017


There has been extensive debate about the history of Earth's oxygenation and the role that land plant evolution played in shaping Earth's ocean–atmosphere system. Here we use the rare earth element patterns in marine carbonates to monitor the structure of the marine redox landscape through the rise and diversification of animals and early land plants. In particular, we use the relative abundance of cerium (Ceanom), the only redox-sensitive rare earth element, in well-preserved marine cements and other marine precipitates to track seawater oxygen levels. Our results indicate that there was only a moderate increase in oceanic oxygenation during the Ediacaran (average Cryogenian Ceanom = 1.1, a..

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Awarded by ARC

Funding Acknowledgements

This research was partially funded from ARC Discovery Grant DP130102240 to MWW. AvSH acknowledges funding from a NAI Postdoctoral Fellowship. NIP acknowledges funding from NSF-ELT program and the Alternative Earths NASA Astrobiology Institute. We are grateful to Doug and Marg Sprigg for field support over many years. Teck Ltd provided field support and access to drill core in Namibia and Ireland. Reviews by Thomas Algeo, Tim Lenton and Balz Kamber significantly improved the manuscript and we thank the reviewers for their contribution.