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Research Article

Multiple climate cooling prior to Sturtian glaciations: Evidence from chemical index of alteration of sediments in South China


Investigation of climatic conditions prior to the Sturtian glaciations is critical to understanding the trigger mechanism for the series of Neoproterozoic global glaciations. In this study, we report high-resolution chemical index of alteration (CIA) records in the sediments of South China prior to the Sturtian glaciation (820~720 Ma). Our results showed there occurred multiple climate cooling before the Sturtian glaciations in South China: (1) a series of episodic and possibly global climate cooling periods from ca. 750 Ma to 725 Ma, which also caused some diachronous regional glaciations; (2) a permanent climate cooling period between ca. 800 Ma and 770 Ma, probably contemporaneous to the global “Bitter Springs stage” δ13C negative excursion; (3) a climate cooling period between ca. 815 Ma and 810 Ma. The three stages of climate cooling are also supported by their correspondence to previously reported extremely low δ18O records of igneous/metamorphic minerals from South China. These climate cooling periods also coincide with the magmatism and rifting events in South China. We argue that tectonic movements were the primary control on the climate cooling before the Neoproterozoic global glaciations.