Paper No. 5
Presentation Time: 2:05 PM


WINGUTH, Arne M.E. and WINGUTH, Cornelia, Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Texas at Arlington, Box 19049, Arlington, TX 76019-0049,

By the end of the Late Permian, most continents had collided to form the supercontinent of Pangea. The associated climatic changes at the Permian-Triassic boundary coincided with the most severe mass extinction in the Phanerozoic. One extinction hypothesis favors a climatic response to an increase in large-scale volcanism resulting in ocean stagnation and widespread anoxia with fatal consequences for marine and land organisms. Recent interpretations of geochemical data suggest that orbitally-driven periodic upwelling of toxic hydrogen-sulfide rich water masses contributed to the extinction of species.

In this paper, we use the Community Climate System Model (CCSM3) in order to explore the effect of eccentricity-modulated changes of the precession on the strength of Pangean megamonsoons and their impact on productivity and oxygen distribution. The climate model simulates high variability in monsoonal precipitation, trade winds and equatorial upwelling in response to precessional extremes, leading to remarkable fluctuations in the export of carbon from the euphotic zone and hence reduction in dissolved oxygen concentrations in subsurface layers. These findings are in general agreement with increased primary productivity, intensified euxinia within the oxygen-minimum zone, and decimation of the radiolarian zooplankton community as inferred from Japanese marine sections.

Strong changes in river run-off linked to precipitation oscillations possibly led to a high variability in the nutrient supply to the Tethys Ocean, thus affecting regional productivity and oxygen distribution. The model results suggest that orbital variability in the sedimentary record and the associated extinction of species are related rather to periodic anoxia in near surface-to-intermediate depth than to widespread anoxic events in the Panthalassic deep-sea.