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The SPICE carbon isotope excursion in Siberia: a combined study of the upper Middle Cambrian–lowermost Ordovician Kulyumbe River section, northwestern Siberian Platform


An integrated, high-resolution chemostratigraphic (C, O and Sr isotopes) and magnetostratigraphic study through the upper Middle Cambrian–lowermost Ordovician shallow-marine carbonates of the northwestern margin of the Siberian Platform is reported. The interval was analysed at the Kulyumbe section, which is exposed along the Kulyumbe River, an eastern tributary of the Enisej River. It comprises the upper Ust'-Brus, Labaz, Orakta, Kulyumbe, Ujgur and lower Iltyk formations and includes the Steptoean positive carbon isotopic excursion (SPICE) studied here in detail from upper Cambrian carbonates of the Siberian Platform for the first time. The peak of the excursion, showing δ13C positive values as high as +4.6‰ and least-altered 87Sr/86Sr ratios of 0.70909, is reported herein from the Yurakhian Horizon of the Kulyumbe Formation. The stratigraphic position of the SPICE excursion does not support traditional correlation of the boundary between the Orakta and Labaz formations at the Kulyumbe River with its supposedly equivalent level in Australia, Laurentia, South China and Kazakhstan, where the Glyptagnostus stolidotus and G. reticulatus biozones are known to immediately precede the SPICE excursion and span the Middle–Upper Cambrian boundary. The Cambrian–Ordovician boundary is probably situated in the middle Nyajan Horizon of the Iltyk Formation, in which carbon isotope values show a local maximum below a decrease in the upper part of the Nyajan Horizon, attributed herein to the Tremadocian Stage. A refined magnetic polarity sequence confirms that the geomagnetic reversal frequency was very high during Middle Cambrian times at 7–10 reversals per Ma, assuming a total duration of about 10 Ma and up to 100 magnetic intervals in the Middle Cambrian. By contrast, the sequence attributed herein to the Upper Cambrian on chemostratigraphic grounds contains only 10–11 magnetic intervals.

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