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Heterogeneity, cyclicity and diagenesis in a Mississippian brachiopod shell of palaeoequatorial Britain


Lucia Angiolini, Dipartimento Scienze della Terra ‘A. Desio’ Via Mangiagalli 34, 20133 Milano, Italy. e-mail:


Terra Nova, 24, 16–26, 2012


A shell of Gigantoproductus okensis shows twenty growth lines with marked changes of fabric, indicating periodical reduction of growth rates caused by environmental perturbations. The number of growth lines suggests a lifespan of 20 years in agreement with the survival rates of extant brachiopods, and with spiral deviation analysis. Geochemical analyses across the growth profile show a heterogeneous distribution of stable isotopes and trace elements. It is possible to distinguish primary from altered carbonate, and to interpret the isotopic data. The oxygen isotope signal in the unaltered parts is periodical and annual, with oscillation of ∼1.1‰. The higher values are at the growth lines (winter), and therefore most likely related to monsoon circulation during the Visean. The annual periodicity seems also present in the altered part of the shell, suggesting that diagenesis could have reset the primary values, but preserved their cyclicity.