Upper Kellwasser carbon isotope excursion pre-dates the F-F boundary in the Upper Devonian Lennard Shelf carbonate system, Canning Basin, Western Australia
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Here we report four high-resolution carbon isotope records in addition to trace element data for the Frasnian–Famennian (F–F) boundary interval in the Lennard Shelf carbonate system of the Canning Basin, Western Australia. This region lacks the characteristic black shale horizons associated with the global Late Devonian Kellwasser extinction events, yet still exhibits a trend in carbon isotope character similar to what has been reported from elsewhere in the world (two positive δ13C excursions with ~ 3–4‰ amplitudes). Enrichments in select trace element ratios suggest that both excursions are related to periods of oxygen deprivation and perhaps increased biological productivity. Given the continuous and stratigraphically expanded nature of Lennard Shelf sections, together with high-density sampling constrained by both conodont biostratigraphy and magnetostratigraphy, we observe that the Upper Kellwasser isotope excursion (maximum δ13C values) and associated trace element enrichments occur distinctly lower than the F–F boundary level. These results have implications for the paleoenvironmental conditions leading up to the Late Devonian Mass Extinction in terms of ocean chemistry and circulation patterns. This data set allows for a rare, detailed look at the temporal relationship between the Kellwasser events and the F–F boundary and constrains the pattern of carbon isotope perturbations at the intra-zonal scale.
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