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TitleMercury as a proxy for volcanic emissions in the geologic record
AuthorGrasby, S EORCID logo; Them, T R, II; Chen, ZORCID logo; Yin, R; Ardakani, O HORCID logo
SourceEarth-Science Reviews vol. 196, 102880, 2019 p. 1-16,
Alt SeriesNatural Resources Canada, Contribution Series 20190128
PublisherElsevier BV
Mediapaper; on-line; digital
File formatpdf (Adobe® Reader®); html
ProvinceCanada; British Columbia; Alberta; Saskatchewan; Manitoba; Ontario; Quebec; New Brunswick; Nova Scotia; Prince Edward Island; Newfoundland and Labrador; Northwest Territories; Yukon; Nunavut
NTS1; 2; 3; 10; 11; 12; 13; 14; 15; 16; 20; 21; 22; 23; 24; 25; 26; 27; 28; 29; 30; 31; 32; 33; 34; 35; 36; 37; 38; 39; 40; 41; 42; 43; 44; 45; 46; 47; 48; 49; 52; 53; 54; 55; 56; 57; 58; 59; 62; 63; 64; 65; 66; 67; 68; 69; 72; 73; 74; 75; 76; 77; 78; 79; 82; 83; 84; 85; 86; 87; 88; 89; 92; 93; 94; 95; 96; 97; 98; 99; 102; 103; 104; 105; 106; 107; 114O; 114P; 115; 116; 117; 120; 340; 560
Lat/Long WENS-180.0000 180.0000 90.0000 -90.0000
Subjectstectonics; geochemistry; environmental geology; stratigraphy; geological history; tectonic history; volcanism; extinctions, biotic; mercury geochemistry; geochemical anomalies; organic carbon; stable isotope studies; bedrock geology; lithology; sedimentary rocks; clastics; limestones; geochemical interpretations; depositional environment; environmental impacts; paleoenvironment; Phanerozoic
Illustrationsschematic representations; plots; tables; histograms; time series; stratigraphic columns
ProgramGEM2: Geo-mapping for Energy and Minerals Western Arctic, High Arctic LIP
Released2019 06 12
AbstractLarge igneous province (LIP) eruptions are increasingly considered to have driven mass extinction events throughout the Phanerozoic; however, uncertainties in radiometric age dating of LIP materials, along with difficulty in accurate age dating of sedimentary rocks that record the environmental and biological history of our planet, create inherent uncertainties in any linkage. As such, there is interest in using geochemical proxies to fingerprint periods of major volcanism in the sedimentary record (termed here LIP marks). The use of sedimentary mercury (Hg) contents has been suggested to be the best tool to accomplish this goal, and recent work is reviewed here. Studies to-date show that most extinction events, ocean anoxic events, and other environmental crises through the Phanerozoic have an associated sedimentary Hg anomaly. It remains unclear though if each Hg anomaly is truly a signature of massive volcanism, or if it is controlled by local or regional processes. As Hg has a strong affinity to organic matter (OM), normalisation with total organic carbon (TOC) has been used to assess anomalies. The measurement of TOC has been fraught with error throughout many studies, leaving some claimed Hg/TOC anomalies questionable. Normalisation by other elements that can affect Hg sequestration, such as Al and S, are less common but warrant further investigation. Stable isotope systematics of Hg have helped to further clarify the origin of Hg spikes, and clearly show that not all Hg anomalies are directly related to volcanism. Although a promising tool, the Hg proxy requires more refinement to accurately understand the nuances of an Hg anomaly in the rock record.
Summary(Plain Language Summary, not published)
GSC Scientists initiated novel studies on use of mercury concentrations in sediments as a means tp record large volcanic in Earth history. This has allowed researchers the ability to more exactly tie these eruptions with mass extinctions through time, demonstrating a clear linkage between major eruptions and evolution of life on the planet. This work provides an authoritative overview of research over the last ten years.

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