Estimating Duration and Intensity of Neoproterozoic Snowball Glaciations from Ir Anomalies

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Science  08 Apr 2005:
Vol. 308, Issue 5719, pp. 239-242
DOI: 10.1126/science.1104657

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The Neoproterozoic glaciations supposedly ended in a supergreenhouse environment, which led to rapid melting of the ice cover and precipitation of the so-called cap carbonates. If Earth was covered with ice, then extraterrestrial material would have accumulated on and within the ice and precipitated during rapid melting at the end of the glaciation. We found iridium (Ir) anomalies at the base of cap carbonates in three drill cores from the Eastern Congo craton. Our data confirm the presence of extended global Neoproterozoic glaciations and indicate that the duration of the Marinoan glacial episode was at least 3 million, and most likely 12 million, years.

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