Hermoso M., Le Callonnec L., Minoletti F., Renard M., Hesselbo S.P. (2009) Expression of the Early Toarcian negative carbon-isotope excursion in separated carbonate microfractions (Jurassic, Paris Basin) // Earth and Planetary Science Letters. V.277. P.194–203.
The causes of the pronounced negative excursion in carbon-isotope values that was recorded during the Early Toarcian Oceanic Anoxic Event (T-OAE) are still under debate, particularly with regard to the local versus global pattern of the excursion, and the extent to which recorded signals are under a diagenetic control. In this study we employ a novel microseparation technique in order to investigate the isotopic and mineralogical characteristics of different size fractions of the carbonate content from a Toarcian section recovered from the Sancerre–Couy borehole, southern Paris Basin. Beyond the recognition of a −6‰ δ13C excursion in the bulk carbonate content, our data also demonstrate that biogenic particles (such as coccoliths) and inorganic grains precipitated as early diagenetic phases (including dolomite) both record the excursion with the same magnitude. Although several black shales occur through the Paris Basin Toarcian section, it is only that associated with the onset of the OAE that coincides with a large negative carbonisotope excursion. Taken together these observations indicate that during this event, the entire water column was characterized by homogeneous carbon-isotope values; such a pattern is incompatible with the idea that the negative excursion was generated simply through the upwelling of bottom waters enriched in remineralized organic carbon (cf. “the Küspert model”), since this would have required a strong vertical gradient in the water column. Additionally, the Paris Basin data show that the decrease in carbonate δ13C values during the OAE occurred in several discrete steps (each of some −2‰), as has previously been found for organic carbon substrates in other European sections. The stepped nature of the isotopic profile, which is part of a stratigraphic signature previously ascribed to Milankovitch forcing, is compatible with regular pulsed input of light carbon into the whole atmosphere–ocean system from a climatically sensitive source such as gas hydrate, or from thermal methanogenesis of organic-rich sediments in the Karoo–Ferrar large igneous province. Contrasts in the amplitude of the negative carbon-isotope excursion on a regional scale remain an important unexplained aspect of the Toarcian record.