Ordovician seawater composition: evidence from fluid inclusions in halite

Fanwei Meng, Yongsheng Zhang, Anatoliy R. Galamay, Krzysztof Bukowski, Pei Ni, Enyuan Xing, Limin Ji


Fluid inclusions in halite can directly record the major composition of evaporated seawater; however, Ordovician halite is very rare. The Ordovician is a key time during the evolution history because profound changes occurred in the planet’s ecosystems. Marine life was characterized by a major diversification, the Great Ordovician Biodiversification Event and the Late Ordovician Mass Extinction, the first of the “big five” mass extinctions. However, so far there is no data on the Ordovician seawater. Data from the Ordovician-Silurian boundary were available only. In this study, we report the major compositions from Middle Ordovician halite in China to give the exact composition of Ordovician seawater. The basic ion composition (K+, Mg2+, Ca2+, and SO42-) of inclusion brines was established with the use of ultramicrochemical analysis. The data on the chemical composition of the brines in the primary inclusions indicated that the brines were of Na-K-Mg-Ca-Cl (Ca-rich) type, and cover a huge gap in the evolution of seawater chemistry. The chemical composition of the primary inclusion brine in halite confirmed the earlier results for the Cambrian and Silurian halite originating from other salt basins and the previous speculation of “calcite sea” during the Ordovician, indicating a higher potassium content in the Lower Paleozoic seawater than in the seawater of other periods of the Phanerozoic.


Ordovician, fluid inclusions, halite, seawater composition, calcite sea

Full Text: