Terrestrial-marine carbon cycle coupling in ∼ 500-m.y.-old phosphatic brachiopods

Clinton A. Cowan, David L Fox, Anthony C. Runkel, Matthew R. Saltzman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Carbon isotope Compositions (δ13C) of inarticulate brachiopod shells from Upper Cambrian sandstone in the cratonic interior of Laurentia record a 5‰ positive excursion that correlates biostratigraphically with the global Steptoean positive isotopic carbon excursion. A consistent 6‰ negative displacement in brachiopod δ13C relative to carbonate values is interpreted to represent an onshore-offshore gradient in the isotopic composition of dissolved inorganic carbon in Cambrian seawater. Thus, these ∼500-m.y.-old chitinophosphatic brachiopod shells preserve evidence for carbon cycle coupling between the ancient atmospheric, oceanic, and terrestrial reservoirs in the time before embryophytic land plants.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)661-664
Number of pages4
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2005


  • Brachiopod
  • Cambrian
  • Chitinophosphatic
  • Inarticulate brachiopod
  • δC


Dive into the research topics of 'Terrestrial-marine carbon cycle coupling in ∼ 500-m.y.-old phosphatic brachiopods'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this