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|Title:||Sedimentation patterns during the Precambrian: A unique record?|
Features With Precambrian Bias
|Publisher:||ELSEVIER SCI LTD|
|Citation:||MARINE AND PETROLEUM GEOLOGY, 33(1)34-68|
|Abstract:||Although the similarities between depositional processes and products as well as the analogous controls on basin-filling and evolution appear to have enjoyed great uniformity throughout the sedimentary rock record, a noticeable distinction exists in the rates and intensities of a broad range of geological processes in the Precambrian epoch. This paper searches for distinctiveness in the Precambrian sedimentary record, both siliciclastic and carbonate, through an extensive, though not exhaustive, review of the relevant literature augmented by new observations. While differences in Precambrian deltaic, aeolian, glacial and possibly also lacustrine deposits and settings appear to have been small, their large-scale development was controlled largely by a combination of temporal and geodynamic influences, essentially of global compass. In this regard the onset of the supercontinent cycle and major perturbations in palaeo-atmospheric composition appear to have been significant. Marine environments provide a poor platform for Precambrian Phanerozoic comparisons of sedimentation patterns, as those from the former period are preserved almost exclusively in epeiric settings, an environment essentially lacking on modern Earth. For the shallow marine carbonates, biological mediation of chemical sediment deposition changed radically from dominance by microbial biota in the Precambrian to a combination of metazons, protozoans and algae for the skeletal carbonates of the Phanerozoic. Despite it being widely recognized that Precambrian channel systems were braided in all environments (deltaic, tidal, alluvial, fluvial) as a consequence of the lack of vegetation and poor development of soils, the fluvial setting has some enigmatic aspects. Amongst these is evidence for ponding of muddy detritus in apparently sandstone bed-load dominated braided systems, with effects on local palaeoslopes which have resulted in unusual palaeohydraulic parameters for Precambrian fluvial systems. This is perhaps a field of research which holds greater promise when investigating sedimentation patterns prior to the Phanerozoic. (C) 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.|
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