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Volume 31 Issue 1
Jan.  2020
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New Insight into Factors Controlling Organic Matter Distribution in Lower Cambrian Source Rocks: A Study from the Qiongzhusi Formation in South China

  • Sedimentary organic matter (OM) is a major reservoir of organic carbon in the global carbon cycle. Despite many studies, there still exist many debates on the mechanism of OM accumulation and preservation in marine sediments. We present a new field study of a Lower Cambrian shallow marine shelf sequence in the northern edge of the Yangtze Plate, China. Our results show that palynological OM and biogenic silica (Bio-Si) could be used alongside more conventional redox and paleo-productivity proxies to study the distribution of OM in marine sediments. The qualitative and quantitative study of palynological OM provides more detailed information on the nature of sedimentary organic carbon, which can be helpful in the assessment of primary productivity and OM preservation. In addition, the presence of Bio-Si stimulates the physical preservation of OM. Further analysis indicates that an increase in Bio-Si can promote OM preservation. This case-study provides insight into the intertwined factors controlling OM accumulation in the Early Cambrian.
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New Insight into Factors Controlling Organic Matter Distribution in Lower Cambrian Source Rocks: A Study from the Qiongzhusi Formation in South China

    Corresponding author: Shucan Zheng, zhengshucan@cug.edu.cn
  • 1. State Key Laboratory of Geological Processes and Mineral Resources, China University of Geosciences, Wuhan 430074, China
  • 2. School of Earth Sciences, China University of Geosciences, Wuhan 430074, China
  • 3. University of the Littoral Opal Coast, UMR 8187 LOG, F-59000 Lille, France
  • 4. University of Lille, CNRS, UMR 8198 Evo-Eco-Paleo, F-59000 Lille, France
  • 5. Petroleum Exploration and Production Research Institute, SINOPEC, Beijing 100083, China

Abstract: Sedimentary organic matter (OM) is a major reservoir of organic carbon in the global carbon cycle. Despite many studies, there still exist many debates on the mechanism of OM accumulation and preservation in marine sediments. We present a new field study of a Lower Cambrian shallow marine shelf sequence in the northern edge of the Yangtze Plate, China. Our results show that palynological OM and biogenic silica (Bio-Si) could be used alongside more conventional redox and paleo-productivity proxies to study the distribution of OM in marine sediments. The qualitative and quantitative study of palynological OM provides more detailed information on the nature of sedimentary organic carbon, which can be helpful in the assessment of primary productivity and OM preservation. In addition, the presence of Bio-Si stimulates the physical preservation of OM. Further analysis indicates that an increase in Bio-Si can promote OM preservation. This case-study provides insight into the intertwined factors controlling OM accumulation in the Early Cambrian.

0.   INTRODUCTION
1.   GEOLOGICAL SETTING
  • The Shatan section is on the northern edge of the Yangtze Plate, South China. It is a fresh outcrop that spans from the Upper Ediacaran to the Middle Cambrian.

    The Lower Cambrian sedimentary accumulations in South China are important marine source rocks, characterized by high total organic carbon (TOC) and sulfide contents. The rocks are mostly dark carbonate and fine-grained clastics, rich in silica minerals (Hu et al., 2018; Li and He, 2014; Wang et al., 2014;