2011 GSA Annual Meeting in Minneapolis (912 October 2011)
Paper No. 55-2
Presentation Time: 1:55 PM-2:15 PM


CLAPHAM, Matthew E., Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, University of California, Santa Cruz, 1156 High Street, Santa Cruz, CA 95064, mclapham@ucsc.edu and PAYNE, Jonathan L., Department of Geological and Environmental Sciences, Stanford University, 450 Serra Mall, Bldg 320, Stanford, CA 94305

Because the end-Permian mass extinction was the greatest biodiversity crisis of the Phanerozoic and a catalyst for the development of modern-style marine ecosystems, its causes have attracted a broader range of speculation than perhaps any other extinction. The proliferation of studies on the boundary interval in the past decade, drawing information from all fields of Earth science, has constrained potential extinction mechanisms and suggests that Siberian Traps volcanism was the primary trigger; resulting environmental degradation can account for most major features of the paleontological, sedimentary, and geochemical records. Large paleontological datasets show that the main pulse of extinction was geologically abrupt, perhaps shorter than 10 ka, and was coincident with the most intense phase of Siberian Traps volcanism. Metabolism and shell mineralogy are the traits that best explain survivorship patterns; genera with low metabolic rates and carbonate shells were more vulnerable to extinction stresses, consistent with physiological predictions under rising pCO2 and resulting ocean acidification. The carbon isotope excursion, which began prior to the extinction, can be explained by massive injection of CO2 derived from volcanic sources and volatilized organic carbon. Traps volcanism can also explain sedimentological and biomarker evidence for widespread ocean anoxia, which likely compounded the physiological stresses from elevated pCO2. Carbon injection from volcanism would have enhanced weathering, increasing nutrient supply and exacerbating pre-existing ocean anoxia. Thus, the end-Permian extinction is one of the best-documented examples of a biotic crisis driven by physiological stresses of ocean acidification and hypoxia, and may provide a template for similar stresses during other ancient extinctions and during the 21st century and beyond.

2011 GSA Annual Meeting in Minneapolis (912 October 2011)
General Information for this Meeting
Session No. 55
Multidisciplinary Approaches to Studying the Causes and Consequences of Mass Extinction: Geochemistry, Paleoecology, and Paleoenvironments II
Minneapolis Convention Center: Room 200H-J
1:30 PM-5:30 PM, Sunday, 9 October 2011

Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs, Vol. 43, No. 5, p. 155

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