Skip to content

Research at St Andrews

Testing models for post-glacial 'cap dolostone' deposition: Nuccaleena Formation, South Australia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle



Catherine V. Rose, Adam C. Maloof

School/Research organisations


Sedimentologically and geochemically distinctive carbonate sequences consistently drape the glacial deposits associated with the younger Cryogenian ice age. The presence of ice-rafted debris in the basal dolostone implies that at least the lower portion of the cap sequence records deglaciation. An isochronous model proposes that cap dolostones were deposited synchronously around the world regardless of water depth, whilst a diachronous model proposes that deposition tracked glacioeustatic flooding during deglaciation. The Nuccaleena Formation of the Adelaide Rift Complex (ARC), South Australia, exhibits many of the unique sedimentary features observed in other younger Cryogenian cap dolostones around the world. Some bedforms are the product of wind-driven oscillatory flow, thus constraining post-glacial dolostone deposition to <400m. These sedimentary features are absent in the deepest basinal facies in the northern ARC, suggesting that this region was below storm wave base even at the glacial sea level lowstand. In the north Flinders Ranges, there is a distinct relationship between lateral facies variability in the pre-, syn- and post-glacial sediments and the axes of 50km scale structural folds. The northern fold limbs are characterised by basinal facies, whilst the southern limbs are associated with upper-slope facies. We interpret the abrupt facies transitions to reflect lower slope to upper slope/shelf breaks across a series of linked, south-facing half-grabens. The majority of cap dolostone carbon isotope records show monotonic declines in δ13C of <2‰, with starting points between -0.5 and -3.5‰. An isochronous model implies a ~3.0‰ lateral gradient from platform to lower slope that varies dramatically on a short spatial scale and non-systematically with palaeobathymetry. If pre- and syn-glacial facies are used to infer palaeobathymetry, and cap dolostones are deposited diachronously as sea level rises during deglaciation, then δ13C values becomes progressively lighter with time, implying that cap dolostone deposition tracked the glacioeustatic sea-level rise over a series of half-grabens that deepened to the north. The carbon isotope dataset cannot rule out uniquely isochronous or diachronous models. Given the high frequency spatial variability of δ13C values, temperature cannot be the dominant control on the isotopic variability of the cap dolostone.



Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)165-180
Number of pages16
JournalEarth and Planetary Science Letters
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - Aug 2010

    Research areas

  • Cap dolostone, Carbon isotopes, Ediacaran, Neoproterozoic, Nuccaleena Formation, Snowball Earth

Discover related content
Find related publications, people, projects and more using interactive charts.

View graph of relations

Related by author

  1. Snowball Earth climate dynamics and Cryogenian geology-geobiology

    Hoffman, P. F. , Abbot, D. S. , Ashkenazy, Y. , Benn, D. I. , Brocks, J. J. , Cohen, P. A. , Cox, G. M. , Creveling, J. R. , Donnadieu, Y. , Erwin, D. H. , Fairchild, I. J. , Ferreira, D. , Goodman, J. C. , Halverson, G. P. , Jansen, M. F. , Le Hir, G. , Love, G. D. , Macdonald, F. A. , Maloof, A. C. , Partin, C. A. & 7 others Ramstein, G., Rose, B. E. J., Rose, C. V., Sadler, P. M., Tziperman, E., Voigt, A. & Warren, S. G. 8 Nov 2017 In : Science Advances. 3, 11, 44 p., e1600983

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  2. Spatial Heterogeneity in Sulfur Isotopes: Implications for Modern Environments and Paleoenvironmental Reconstructions

    Fike, D. A., Rose, C., Gao, J. & Aller, R. C. 2017 In : Chemical Geology.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  3. Carbon and Sulfur Cycling During the Silurian Ireviken Event: Insights from Gotland, Sweden

    Rose, C., Beaudoin, C., Fischer, W. W., Finnegan, S. & Fike, D. A. 2017 In : Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  4. Rethinking the ancient sulfur cycle

    Fike, D. A., Bradley, A. S. & Rose, C. V. 30 May 2015 In : Annual Review of Earth and Planetary Sciences. 43, p. 593-622 30 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  5. The end-cryogenian glaciation of South Australia

    Rose, C. V., Maloof, A. C., Schoene, B., Ewing, R. C., Linnemann, U., Hofmann, M. & Cottle, J. M. 2013 In : Geoscience Canada. 40, 4, p. 256-293 38 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Related by journal

  1. The effects of temperature, salinity, and the carbonate system on Mg/Ca in Globigerinoides ruber (white): a global sediment trap calibration

    Gray, W. R., Weldeab, S., Lea, D. W., Rosenthal, Y., Gruber, N., Donner, B. & Fischer, G. 15 Jan 2018 In : Earth and Planetary Science Letters. 482, p. 607-620 14 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  2. Subduction metamorphism in the Himalayan ultrahigh-pressure Tso Moran massif: An integrated geodynamic and petrological modelling approach

    Palin, R., Reuber, G., White, R. W., Kaus, B. & Owen, W. 1 Jun 2017 In : Earth and Planetary Science Letters. 467, p. 108-119

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  3. Short episodes of crust generation during protracted accretionary processes

    Tang, G-J., Chung, S-L., Hawkesworth, C. J., Cawood, P. A., Wang, Q., Wyman, D. A., Xu, Y-G. & Zhao, Z-H. 15 Apr 2017 In : Earth and Planetary Science Letters. 464, p. 142-154 13 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  4. Utility of 222Rn as a passive tracer of subglacial distributed system drainage

    Linhoff, B. S., Charette, M. A., Nienow, P. W., Wadham, J. L., Tedstone, A. J. & Cowton, T. 15 Mar 2017 In : Earth and Planetary Science Letters. 462, p. 180-188 9 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  5. Estimating the frequency of volcanic ash clouds over northern Europe

    Watson, E. J., Swindles, G. T., Savov, I. P., Lawson, I. T., Connor, C. B. & Wilson, J. A. 15 Feb 2017 In : Earth and Planetary Science Letters. 460, p. 41-49 9 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Related by journal

  1. Earth and Planetary Science Letters (Journal)

    Hawkesworth, C. (Member of editorial board)

    Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial workEditor of research journal

ID: 250641646