Duration of the Early Cambrian: U-Pb Ages of Volcanic Ashes from Avalon and Gondwana

TitleDuration of the Early Cambrian: U-Pb Ages of Volcanic Ashes from Avalon and Gondwana
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication1998
AuthorsLanding, E, Bowring, SA, Davidek, KL, Westrop, SR, Geyer, G, Heldmaier, W
JournalCanadian Journal of Earth Science
Keywordstrilobites, upper Lower Cambrian, Volcanic zircons

Volcanic zircons from three ashes give a U-Pb date of 511 ± 1 Ma on trilobite-bearing, upper Lower Cambrian (upper Branchian Series) strata of southern New Brunswick that correlate into the Siberian middle Botomian - Toyonian Stage interval. This very young age on the late, but not latest, Early Cambrian of Avalon is consistent both with a 519 ± 1 Ma age on the older Caerfai Bay Shales of south Wales that are tentatively correlated into strata with the oldest Avalonian trilobites (lower Branchian) and with a 517 ± 1.5 Ma age on the Antatlasia gutta-pluviae Zone (trilobites) of Morocco. Determination of a 522 ± 2 Ma zircon age on the Moroccan subtrilobitic Lower Cambrian Lie de vin Formation is consistent with an earlier reported 521 ± 7 Ma age from the Lie de vin but suggests that a 526 ± 4 Ma age on Australian trilobite-bearing Lower Cambrian rocks may be too old. A 33+ Ma duration of the Avalonian Early Cambrian and an 8+ Ma length of the Avalonian trilobite-bearing Lower Cambrian support proposals that most Cambrian time was Early Cambrian and the majority of the Early Cambrian was pretrilobitic.