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Calner et al., 2010

Paleokarst evidence for widespread regression and subaerial exposure in the middle Katian (Upper Ordovician) of Baltoscandia: Significance for global climate

Calner, M., Lehnert, O., Nõlvak, J.
AjakiriPalaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology
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We report on widespread and contemporary palaeokarst in the middle Katian (Upper Ordovician) of Sweden, Estonia and Latvia, the first major palaeokarst horizon to be reported from the Ordovician of Baltoscandia. The solution features occur within a few metres of thick zone of limestone immediately below the widespread Fjäcka Shale and are related to an unconformity with preserved palaeorelief in the Slandrom Limestone in Sweden and the time-equivalent Saunja Formation in Estonia and Latvia. Facies evidence for a karst origin comes from several outcrops and core sections and includes 1) frequent karren-like morphologies interpreted as ‘Swiss-cheese’ karst [sensu Baceta et al., 2001], 2) local occurrences of solution/collapse breccia, 3) presence of bladed pseudospar crystals in solution cavities, and 4) carbon isotope values indicating meteoric influence to the succession. These findings are herein put in context with previously reported, large-scale erosional channels that may cut down several tens of metres below the Fjäcka Shale in the subsurface Baltic Sea area, and with regional, anomalous thickness variations in the Slandrom Limestone and Saunja Formation, all together forming strong support for regional exposure of the Baltoscandian continent in the middle Katian. High-resolution stable isotopic data show that the regression and lowstand of sea-level overlap with the Waynesville carbon isotope excursion. It resulted in basin-wide cessation of carbonate production near the Amorphognathus superbus and A. ordovicicus conodont zonal boundary. The contemporary development of palaeokarst in different confacies belts of the basin suggests that this was an extraordinary sea-level lowstand, herein interpreted as reflecting a middle Katian glaciation.

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