Kendall Brian

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  • Preprint
    Trace elements at the intersection of marine biological and geochemical evolution
    ( 2016-10) Robbins, Leslie J. ; Lalonde, Stefan V. ; Planavsky, Noah J. ; Partin, Camille A. ; Reinhard, Christopher T. ; Kendall, Brian ; Scott, Clint ; Hardisty, Dalton S. ; Gill, Benjamin C. ; Alessi, Daniel S. ; Dupont, Christopher L. ; Saito, Mak A. ; Crowe, Sean A. ; Poulton, Simon W. ; Bekker, Andrey ; Lyons, Timothy W. ; Konhauser, Kurt O.
    Life requires a wide variety of bioessential trace elements to act as structural components and reactive centers in metalloenzymes. These requirements differ between organisms and have evolved over geological time, likely guided in some part by environmental conditions. Until recently, most of what was understood regarding trace element concentrations in the Precambrian oceans was inferred by extrapolation, geochemical modeling, and/or genomic studies. However, in the past decade, the increasing availability of trace element and isotopic data for sedimentary rocks of all ages have yielded new, and potentially more direct, insights into secular changes in seawater composition – and ultimately the evolution of the marine biosphere. Compiled records of many bioessential trace elements (including Ni, Mo, P, Zn, Co, Cr, Se, and I) provide new insight into how trace element abundance in Earth’s ancient oceans may have been linked to biological evolution. Several of these trace elements display redox-sensitive behavior, while others are redox-sensitive but not bioessential (e.g., Cr, U). Their temporal trends in sedimentary archives provide useful constraints on changes in atmosphere-ocean redox conditions that are linked to biological evolution, for example, the activity of oxygen-producing, photosynthetic cyanobacteria. In this review, we summarize available Precambrian trace element proxy data, and discuss how temporal trends in the seawater concentrations of specific trace elements may be linked to the evolution of both simple and complex life. We also examine several biologically relevant and/or redox-sensitive trace elements that have yet to be fully examined in the sedimentary rock record (e.g., Cu, Cd, W) and suggest several directions for future studies.
  • Article
    Shale heavy metal isotope records of low environmental O2 between two Archean Oxidation Events
    (Frontiers Media, 2022-04-26) Ostrander, Chadlin ; Kendall, Brian ; Gordon, Gwyneth W. ; Nielsen, Sune G. ; Zheng, Wang ; Anbar, Ariel D.
    Evidence of molecular oxygen (O2) accumulation at Earth’s surface during the Archean (4.0–2.5 billion years ago, or Ga) seems to increase in its abundance and compelling nature toward the end of the eon, during the runup to the Great Oxidation Event. Yet, many details of this late-Archean O2 story remain under-constrained, such as the extent, tempo, and location of O2 accumulation. Here, we present a detailed Fe, Tl, and U isotope study of shales from a continuous sedimentary sequence deposited between ∼2.6 and ∼2.5 Ga and recovered from the Pilbara Craton of Western Australia (the Wittenoom and Mt. Sylvia formations preserved in drill core ABDP9). We find a progressive decrease in bulk-shale Fe isotope compositions moving up core (as low as δ56Fe = –0.78 ± 0.08‰; 2SD) accompanied by invariant authigenic Tl isotope compositions (average ε205TlA = –2.0 ± 0.6; 2SD) and bulk-shale U isotope compositions (average δ238U = –0.30 ± 0.05‰; 2SD) that are both not appreciably different from crustal rocks or bulk silicate Earth. While there are multiple possible interpretations of the decreasing δ56Fe values, many, to include the most compelling, invoke strictly anaerobic processes. The invariant and near-crustal ε205TlA and δ238U values point even more strongly to this interpretation, requiring reducing to only mildly oxidizing conditions over ten-million-year timescales in the late-Archean. For the atmosphere, our results permit either homogenous and low O2 partial pressures (between 10−6.3 and 10−6 present atmospheric level) or heterogeneous and spatially restricted O2 accumulation nearest the sites of O2 production. For the ocean, our results permit minimal penetration of O2 in marine sediments over large areas of the seafloor, at most sufficient for the burial of Fe oxide minerals but insufficient for the burial of Mn oxide minerals. The persistently low background O2 levels implied by our dataset between ∼2.6 and ∼2.5 Ga contrast with the timeframes immediately before and after, where strong evidence is presented for transient Archean Oxidation Events. Viewed in this broader context, our data support the emerging narrative that Earth’s initial oxygenation was a dynamic process that unfolded in fits-and-starts over many hundreds-of-millions of years.
  • Article
    Technical comment on "Reexamination of 2.5-Ga 'whiff' of oxygen interval points to anoxic ocean before GOE"
    (American Association for the Advancement of Science, 2023-03-03) Anbar, Ariel D. ; Buick, Roger ; Gordon, Gwyneth W. ; Johnson, Aleisha C. ; Kendall, Brian ; Lyons, Timothy W. ; Ostrander, Chadlin M. ; Planavsky, Noah J. ; Reinhard, Christopher T. ; Stüeken, Eva E.
    Many lines of inorganic geochemical evidence suggest transient "whiffs" of environmental oxygenation before the Great Oxidation Event (GOE). Slotznickassert that analyses of paleoredox proxies in the Mount McRae Shale, Western Australia, were misinterpreted and hence that environmental Olevels were persistently negligible before the GOE. We find these arguments logically flawed and factually incomplete.