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© 2018, The Author(s). Termination of the terminal Cryogenian Marinoan snowball Earth glaciation (~650–635 Ma) is associated with the worldwide deposition of a cap carbonate. Modeling studies suggest that, during and immediately following deglaciation, the ocean may have experienced a rapid rise in pH and physical stratification followed by oceanic overturn. Testing these predictions requires the establishment of a high-resolution sequence of events within sedimentary records. Here we report the conspicuous occurrence of pyrite concretions in the topmost Nantuo Formation (South China) that was deposited in the Marinoan glacial deposits. Sedimentary facies and sulfur isotope data indicate pyrite precipitation in the sediments with H2S diffusing from the overlying sulfidic/euxinic seawater and Fe (II) from diamictite sediments. These observations suggest a transient but widespread presence of marine euxinia in an ocean characterized by redox stratification, high bioproductivity, and high-fluxes of sulfate from chemical weathering before the deposition of the cap carbonate.

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Nature Communications