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Sample records for boundary mass extinction

  1. Biogeochemical modeling at mass extinction boundaries

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Rampino, M. R.; Caldeira, K. G.

    1991-01-01

    The causes of major mass extinctions is a subject of considerable interest to those concerned with the history and evolution of life on earth. The primary objectives of the proposed plan of research are: (1) to develop quantitative time-dependent biogeochemical cycle models, coupled with an ocean atmosphere in order to improve the understanding of global scale physical, chemical, and biological processes that control the distribution of elements important for life at times of mass extinctions; and (2) to develop a comprehensive data base of the best available geochemical, isotopic, and other relevant geologic data from sections across mass extinction boundaries. These data will be used to constrain and test the biogeochemical model. These modeling experiments should prove useful in: (1) determining the possible cause(s) of the environmental changes seen at bio-event boundaries; (2) identifying and quantifying little-known feedbacks among the oceans, atmosphere, and biosphere; and (3) providing additional insights into the possible responses of the earth system to perturbations of various timescales. One of the best known mass extinction events marks the Cretaceous/Tertiary (K/T) boundary (66 Myr ago). Data from the K/T boundary are used here to constrain a newly developed time-dependent biogeochemical cycle model that is designed to study transient behavior of the earth system. Model results predict significant fluctuations in ocean alkalinity, atmospheric CO2, and global temperatures caused by extinction of calcareous plankton and reduction in the sedimentation rates of pelagic carbonates and organic carbon. Oxygen-isotome and other paleoclimatic data from K/T time provide some evidence that such climatic fluctuations may have occurred, but stabilizing feedbacks may have acted to reduce the ocean alkalinity and carbon dioxide fluctuations.

  2. Chicxulub impact predates the K-T boundary mass extinction

    PubMed Central

    Keller, Gerta; Adatte, Thierry; Stinnesbeck, Wolfgang; Rebolledo-Vieyra, Mario; Urrutia Fucugauchi, Jaime; Kramar, Utz; Stüben, Doris

    2004-01-01

    Since the early l990s the Chicxulub crater on Yucatan, Mexico, has been hailed as the smoking gun that proves the hypothesis that an asteroid killed the dinosaurs and caused the mass extinction of many other organisms at the Cretaceous-Tertiary (K-T) boundary 65 million years ago. Here, we report evidence from a previously uninvestigated core, Yaxcopoil-1, drilled within the Chicxulub crater, indicating that this impact predated the K-T boundary by ≈300,000 years and thus did not cause the end-Cretaceous mass extinction as commonly believed. The evidence supporting a pre-K-T age was obtained from Yaxcopoil-1 based on five independent proxies, each with characteristic signals across the K-T transition: sedimentology, biostratigraphy, magnetostratigraphy, stable isotopes, and iridium. These data are consistent with earlier evidence for a late Maastrichtian age of the microtektite deposits in northeastern Mexico. PMID:15004276

  3. The Permian-Triassic boundary & mass extinction in China

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Metcalfe, I.; Nicoll, R.S.; Mundil, R.; Foster, C.; Glen, J.; Lyons, J.; Xiaofeng, W.; Cheng-Yuan, W.; Renne, P.R.; Black, L.; Xun, Q.; Xiaodong, M.

    2001-01-01

    The first appearance of Hindeodus parvus (Kozur & Pjatakova) at the Permian-Triassic (P-T) GSSP level (base of Bed 27c) at Meishan is here confirmed. Hindeodus changxingensis Wang occurs from Beds 26 to 29 at Meishan and appears to be restricted to the narrow boundary interval immediately above the main mass extinction level in Bed 25. It is suggested that this species is therefore a valuable P-T boundary interval index taxon. Our collections from the Shangsi section confirm that the first occurrence of Hindeodus parvus in that section is about 5 in above the highest level from which a typical Permian fauna is recovered. This may suggest that that some section may be missing at Meishan. The age of the currently defined Permian-Triassic Boundary is estimated by our own studies and a reassessment of previous worker's data at c. 253 Ma, slightly older than our IDTIMS 206Pb/238U age of 252.5 ??0.3 Ma for Bed 28, just 8 cm above the GSSP boundary (Mundil et al., 2001). The age of the main mass extinction, at the base of Bed 25 at Meishan, is estimated at slightly older than 254 Ma based on an age of >254 Ma for the Bed 25 ash. Regardless of the absolute age of the boundary, it is evident that the claimed <165,000 y short duration for the negative carbon isotope excursion at the P-T boundary (Bowring et al., 1998) cannot be confirmed. Purportedly extraterrestrial fullerenes at the boundary (Hecker et al., 2001) have equivocal significance due to their chronostratigraphic non-uniqueness and their occurrence in a volcanic ash.

  4. The Chicxulub asteroid impact and mass extinction at the Cretaceous-Paleogene boundary.

    PubMed

    Schulte, Peter; Alegret, Laia; Arenillas, Ignacio; Arz, José A; Barton, Penny J; Bown, Paul R; Bralower, Timothy J; Christeson, Gail L; Claeys, Philippe; Cockell, Charles S; Collins, Gareth S; Deutsch, Alexander; Goldin, Tamara J; Goto, Kazuhisa; Grajales-Nishimura, José M; Grieve, Richard A F; Gulick, Sean P S; Johnson, Kirk R; Kiessling, Wolfgang; Koeberl, Christian; Kring, David A; MacLeod, Kenneth G; Matsui, Takafumi; Melosh, Jay; Montanari, Alessandro; Morgan, Joanna V; Neal, Clive R; Nichols, Douglas J; Norris, Richard D; Pierazzo, Elisabetta; Ravizza, Greg; Rebolledo-Vieyra, Mario; Reimold, Wolf Uwe; Robin, Eric; Salge, Tobias; Speijer, Robert P; Sweet, Arthur R; Urrutia-Fucugauchi, Jaime; Vajda, Vivi; Whalen, Michael T; Willumsen, Pi S

    2010-03-01

    The Cretaceous-Paleogene boundary approximately 65.5 million years ago marks one of the three largest mass extinctions in the past 500 million years. The extinction event coincided with a large asteroid impact at Chicxulub, Mexico, and occurred within the time of Deccan flood basalt volcanism in India. Here, we synthesize records of the global stratigraphy across this boundary to assess the proposed causes of the mass extinction. Notably, a single ejecta-rich deposit compositionally linked to the Chicxulub impact is globally distributed at the Cretaceous-Paleogene boundary. The temporal match between the ejecta layer and the onset of the extinctions and the agreement of ecological patterns in the fossil record with modeled environmental perturbations (for example, darkness and cooling) lead us to conclude that the Chicxulub impact triggered the mass extinction. PMID:20203042

  5. Relationship between mass extinction and iridium across the Cretaceous-Paleogene boundary in New Jersey

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Miller, K.G.; Sherrell, Robert M.; Browning, J.V.; Field, M.P.; Gallagher, W.; Olsson, R.K.; Sugarman, P.J.; Tuorto, S.; Wahyudi, H.

    2010-01-01

    We directly link iridium (Ir) anomalies in New Jersey to the mass extinction of marine plankton marking the Cretaceous-Paleogene (K-Pg) boundary. We confirm previous reports of an Ir anomaly 20 cm below the extinction of Cretaceous macrofauna (the "Pinna" bed) with new results from a muddy sand section from Tighe Park, Freehold, New Jersey (United States), but we also show that Ir anomalies correlate with marine mass extinctions at three other clay-rich New Jersey sections. Thus, we attribute the anomaly at Freehold to the downward movement of Ir and reaffirm the link between impact and mass extinction. ?? 2010 Geological Society of America.

  6. Mass extinction of lizards and snakes at the Cretaceous-Paleogene boundary

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Longrich, Nicholas R.; Bhullar, Bhart-Anjan S.; Gauthier, Jacques A.

    2012-12-01

    The Cretaceous-Paleogene (K-Pg) boundary is marked by a major mass extinction, yet this event is thought to have had little effect on the diversity of lizards and snakes (Squamata). A revision of fossil squamates from the Maastrichtian and Paleocene of North America shows that lizards and snakes suffered a devastating mass extinction coinciding with the Chicxulub asteroid impact. Species-level extinction was 83%, and the K-Pg event resulted in the elimination of many lizard groups and a dramatic decrease in morphological disparity. Survival was associated with small body size and perhaps large geographic range. The recovery was prolonged; diversity did not approach Cretaceous levels until 10 My after the extinction, and resulted in a dramatic change in faunal composition. The squamate fossil record shows that the end-Cretaceous mass extinction was far more severe than previously believed, and underscores the role played by mass extinctions in driving diversification.

  7. Mass extinction of lizards and snakes at the Cretaceous–Paleogene boundary

    PubMed Central

    Longrich, Nicholas R.; Bhullar, Bhart-Anjan S.; Gauthier, Jacques A.

    2012-01-01

    The Cretaceous–Paleogene (K-Pg) boundary is marked by a major mass extinction, yet this event is thought to have had little effect on the diversity of lizards and snakes (Squamata). A revision of fossil squamates from the Maastrichtian and Paleocene of North America shows that lizards and snakes suffered a devastating mass extinction coinciding with the Chicxulub asteroid impact. Species-level extinction was 83%, and the K-Pg event resulted in the elimination of many lizard groups and a dramatic decrease in morphological disparity. Survival was associated with small body size and perhaps large geographic range. The recovery was prolonged; diversity did not approach Cretaceous levels until 10 My after the extinction, and resulted in a dramatic change in faunal composition. The squamate fossil record shows that the end-Cretaceous mass extinction was far more severe than previously believed, and underscores the role played by mass extinctions in driving diversification. PMID:23236177

  8. Extended period of K/T boundary mass extinction in the marine realm

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Keller, G.

    1988-01-01

    The Cretaceous/Tertiary (K/T) boundary mass extinction has been widely recognized as a nearly instantaneous catastrophy among marine plankton such as foraminifera. However, the suddenness of this extinction event may have been overemphasized because most pelagic K/T boundary sequences are stratigraphically incomplete and generally lack the earliest Tertiary (Zones P0 and P1a) either due to carbonate dissolution and/or non-deposition. Stratigraphically complete sections appear to be restricted to continental shelf regions with high sedimentation rates and deposition well above the CCD. Such sections have been recovered from El Kef, Tunisia (1) and Brazos River, Texas. Quantitative foraminiferal analysis of these sections indicate an extinction pattern beginning below the K/T boundary and ending above the boundary. These data imply that the mass extinction event was not geologically instantaneous, but occurred over an extended period of time. Evidence supporting this conclusion is discussed.

  9. Anoxia pre-dates Frasnian-Famennian boundary mass extinction horizon in the Great Basin, USA

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Bratton, John F.; Berry, William B.N.; Morrow, Jared R.

    1999-01-01

    Major and trace metal results from three Great Basin stratigraphic sections with strong conodont biostratigraphy identify a distinct anoxic interval that precedes, but ends approximately 100 kyr before, the Frasnian–Famennian (F–F, mid-Late Devonian) boundary mass extinction horizon. This horizon corresponds to the final and most severe step of a more protracted extinction period. These results are inconsistent with data reported by others from the upper Kellwasser horizon in Europe, which show anoxia persisting up to the F–F boundary in most sections. Conditions returned to fully oxygenated prior to the F–F boundary in the study area. These data indicate that the worst part of the F–F extinction was not related directly to oceanic anoxia in this region and potentially globally.

  10. Abiotic causes of the great mass extinction of marine biota at the Triassic-Jurassic boundary

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Barash, M. S.

    2015-05-01

    In the interval of the Triassic-Jurassic boundary up to 80% of marine species became extinct. The main hypotheses on the causes of this mass extinction are reviewed. The extinction was triggered by a powerful eruption of basalts in the Central Atlantic Magmatic Province. In addition, several impact craters have been found. Extraterrestrial factors resulted in two main sequences of events: terrestrial, leading to strong volcanism, and extraterrestrial (impact events). They produced similar effects: emissions of harmful chemical compounds and aerosols. Consequences included the greenhouse effect, darkening of the atmosphere (which prevented photosynthesis), stagnation of the oceans, and anoxia. Biological productivity decreased; food chains collapsed. As a result, all vital processes were disturbed, and a large portion of the biota went extinct.

  11. New Evidence links Deccan Traps to the Cretaceous-Tertiary Boundary Mass Extinction

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Adatte, T.; Keller, G.

    2012-04-01

    Recent studies indicate that Deccan Trap volcanism began with a relatively minor eruption phase (~6% of total volume) during the late Maastrichtian magnetic polarity C30n. The main eruption phase (~80%) occurred over a short period in C29r just below the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary (KTB) and the last Deccan phase (~14%) erupted in the early Danian C29n. Multiproxy studies from sections in Meghalaya (NE India), Jhilmili in central India (Madhya Pradesh), 6 quarry outcrops from Rajahmundry (SE India), 10 deep wells from the Krishna-Godavari Basin (K-G) (Andhra Pradesh) place the KTB mass extinction near the end of the main Deccan phase coincident with the mass extinction. These studies show that the second and third phase of eruptions each produced the world's largest and longest lava megaflows ~1500 km across India through the K-G Basin into the Bay of Bengal. These megaflows are separated by sand, silt and shale which record the mass extinction across an interval that spans zones CF1-CF2 and most of the nannofossil Micula prinsii zone and is correlative with the rapid global warming and subsequent cooling near the end of the Maastrichtian. The mass extinction began preceding the first of the four mega-flows in C29r. Planktic foraminifera suffered a 50% drop in species richness. Survivors suffered another 50% drop after the first mega-flow, leaving just 7 to 8 survivor species. No recovery occurred between the next three mega-flows and the mass extinction was complete with the last phase-2 megaflow at the KTB. The last phase of Deccan volcanism and its 3 to 4 megaflows in the early Danian C29n (zone P1b) delayed biotic recovery of marine plankton. Correlative with these intense volcanic phases, climate changed from humid/tropical to arid conditions and returned to normal tropical humidity after the last phase of volcanism. Similar environmental conditions, mass extinction and delayed recovery patterns are observed in Meghalaya, NE India.The mass extinction was

  12. Mass extinction of birds at the Cretaceous-Paleogene (K-Pg) boundary.

    PubMed

    Longrich, Nicholas R; Tokaryk, Tim; Field, Daniel J

    2011-09-13

    The effect of the Cretaceous-Paleogene (K-Pg) (formerly Cretaceous-Tertiary, K-T) mass extinction on avian evolution is debated, primarily because of the poor fossil record of Late Cretaceous birds. In particular, it remains unclear whether archaic birds became extinct gradually over the course of the Cretaceous or whether they remained diverse up to the end of the Cretaceous and perished in the K-Pg mass extinction. Here, we describe a diverse avifauna from the latest Maastrichtian of western North America, which provides definitive evidence for the persistence of a range of archaic birds to within 300,000 y of the K-Pg boundary. A total of 17 species are identified, including 7 species of archaic bird, representing Enantiornithes, Ichthyornithes, Hesperornithes, and an Apsaravis-like bird. None of these groups are known to survive into the Paleogene, and their persistence into the latest Maastrichtian therefore provides strong evidence for a mass extinction of archaic birds coinciding with the Chicxulub asteroid impact. Most of the birds described here represent advanced ornithurines, showing that a major radiation of Ornithurae preceded the end of the Cretaceous, but none can be definitively referred to the Neornithes. This avifauna is the most diverse known from the Late Cretaceous, and although size disparity is lower than in modern birds, the assemblage includes both smaller forms and some of the largest volant birds known from the Mesozoic, emphasizing the degree to which avian diversification had proceeded by the end of the age of dinosaurs. PMID:21914849

  13. Mass extinction of birds at the Cretaceous–Paleogene (K–Pg) boundary

    PubMed Central

    Longrich, Nicholas R.; Tokaryk, Tim; Field, Daniel J.

    2011-01-01

    The effect of the Cretaceous-Paleogene (K-Pg) (formerly Cretaceous–Tertiary, K–T) mass extinction on avian evolution is debated, primarily because of the poor fossil record of Late Cretaceous birds. In particular, it remains unclear whether archaic birds became extinct gradually over the course of the Cretaceous or whether they remained diverse up to the end of the Cretaceous and perished in the K–Pg mass extinction. Here, we describe a diverse avifauna from the latest Maastrichtian of western North America, which provides definitive evidence for the persistence of a range of archaic birds to within 300,000 y of the K–Pg boundary. A total of 17 species are identified, including 7 species of archaic bird, representing Enantiornithes, Ichthyornithes, Hesperornithes, and an Apsaravis-like bird. None of these groups are known to survive into the Paleogene, and their persistence into the latest Maastrichtian therefore provides strong evidence for a mass extinction of archaic birds coinciding with the Chicxulub asteroid impact. Most of the birds described here represent advanced ornithurines, showing that a major radiation of Ornithurae preceded the end of the Cretaceous, but none can be definitively referred to the Neornithes. This avifauna is the most diverse known from the Late Cretaceous, and although size disparity is lower than in modern birds, the assemblage includes both smaller forms and some of the largest volant birds known from the Mesozoic, emphasizing the degree to which avian diversification had proceeded by the end of the age of dinosaurs. PMID:21914849

  14. Global iridium anomaly, mass extinction, and redox change at the Devonian-Carboniferous boundary

    SciTech Connect

    Wang, K. Univ. of Calgary, Alberta ); Attrep, M. Jr.; Orth, C.J. )

    1993-12-01

    Iridium abundance anomalies have been found on a global scale in the Devonian-Carboniferous (D-C) boundary interval, which records one of the largest Phanerozoic mass-extinction events, an event that devastated many groups of living organisms, such as plants, ammonoids, trilobites, conodonts, fish, foraminiferans, brachiopods, and ostracodes. At or very close to the D-C boundary, there exists a geographically widespread black-shale interval, and Ir abundances reach anomalous maxima of 0.148 ppb (Montagne Noire, France), 0.138 ppb (Alberta, Canada) 0.140 ppb (Carnic Alps, Austria), 0.156 ppb (Guangxi, China), 0.258 ppb (Guizhou, China), and 0.250 ppb (Oklahoma). The discovery of global D-C Ir anomalies argues for an impact-extinction model. However, nonchondritic ratios of Ir to other important elements and a lack of physical evidence (shocked quartz, microtektites) do not support such a scenario. The fact that all Ir abundance maxima are at sharp redox boundaries in these sections leads us to conclude that the Ir anomalies likely resulted from a sudden change in paleo-redox conditions during deposition and/or early diagenesis. 36 refs., 2 figs., 1 tab.

  15. Evolutionary and Ecological Sequelae of Mass Extinctions: Examples From the Continental Triassic-Jurassic Boundary

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Olsen, P. E.; Whiteside, J. H.

    2003-12-01

    The Triassic-Jurassic boundary at ˜200 Ma marks one of the five major mass-extinctions of the Phanerozoic and, depending on the metrics used, was similar in magnitude to the K-T mass extinction. In continental environments about 50% of all tetrapod families are eliminated and although floral diversity change is difficult to gauge, a similar proportion of palynomorph taxa disappear at the boundary. The extinction event appears to have been very abrupt, followed by a roughly 900 ky super-greenhouse period characterized by increased precipitation. We hypothesize a series of biological consequences of the drop in diversity and associated super-greenhouse based on observations of the earliest Jurassic assemblages, largely from eastern North America. 1) The drop in diversity results in a collapse of ecological interactions that tend to stabilize the composition of regional biotas and buffer them from invading forms. Triassic assemblages show considerable biogeographic provinciality despite the existence of Pangea, but the earliest Jurassic assemblages were extraordinarily homogenous with many vertebrate genera being essentially global in distribution. 2) Initially the post-boundary terrestrial assemblages were comprised of eurytopic trophic generalists, with animal communities with few herbivores, but abundant carnivores and detritivores subsisting on aquatic-based food webs. The earliest Jurassic tetrapod footprint record is overwhelmingly dominated by the footprints of ceratosaurian theropod dinosaurs, the latter having skull characteristics usually associated at least in part with piscivory. 3) The dramatic size changes over very short periods of time were likely due to an absence of competition (i.e., ecological release). The maximum size of theropod dinosaur footprints increased by about 25% within 10 ky following the boundary, corresponding to a doubling of mass. 4) Representatives of clades with intrinsically high rates of speciation tend to form species flocks

  16. Mass extinction of ocean organisms at the Paleozoic-Mesozoic boundary: Effects and causes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Barash, M. S.

    2012-04-01

    At the end of the Permian, at the boundary between the Paleozoic and Mesozoic (251.0 ± 0.4 Ma), the largest mass extinction of organisms on the Earth occurred. Up to 96% of the species of marine invertebrates and ˜70% of the terrestrial vertebrates died off. A lot of factors were suggested and substantiated to explain this mass mortality, such as the disappearance of environmental niches in the course of the amalgamation of the continental plates into Pangea, sea level fluctuations, anoxia, an elevated CO2 content, H2S intoxication, volcanism, methane discharge from gas-hydrates, climate changes, impact events (collisions with large asteroids), or combinations of many of these reasons. Some of these factors are in subordination to others, while others are independent. Almost all of these factors developed relatively slowly and could not cause the sudden mass mortality of organisms globally. It could have happened when large asteroids, whose craters have been discovered lately, fell to the Earth. It is suggested that the impact events "finished off" the already suppressed biota. A simultaneous change in many of the factors responsible for the biodiversity, including those not connected in a cause-and-effect relationship, proves the existence of a common extrater-restrial cause that affected both the changes in the internal and external geospheres and the activation of asteroid attacks (the Sun's transit of spiral arms of our galaxy, the Sun's oscillations perpendicularly to the galactic plane, etc).

  17. Chicxulub Impact Predates K-T Boundary in Texas and Caused no Mass Extinction

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Fucugauchi, J. U.; Soler-Arechalde, A. M.; Rebolledo-Vieyra, M.; Keller, G.; Adatte, T.; Berner, Z.; Baum, G.; Stueben, D.

    2005-05-01

    In the Chicxulub crater and throughout NE Mexico the impact breccia and spherule ejecta layer, respectively, predate the K-T boundary by about 300,000 years (Keller et al., 2003, 2004). The stratigraphic separation between the K-T boundary and the Chicxulub impact ejecta varies from 50 cm in the Chicxulub crater, to over 14 m in NE Mexico, with the variation due to erosion, non-deposition and paloetopography. New studies from drilling and exposures along the Brazos River, Texas, confirm these findings based on biostratigraphy, paleomagnetic stratigraphy, geochemistry, stable isotopes, and faunal assemblages. In this area, the spherule ejecta is reworked near the base of a series of `event beds' representing variable storm deposits separated by repeated colonization of the ocean floor by invertebrates. The base of these storm beds overlies an undulating erosion surface of latest Maastrichtian claystone. The original spherule ejecta layer appears to be within the underlying claystone, in the lower part of chron 29R and near the base of biozone CF1, which marks the last 300,000 years of the Cretaceous. Above the `event beds' latest Maastrichtian claystone sedimentation continues up to the K-T boundary, which is characterized by a sharp (1.4 ng/g) iridium anomaly that marks the K-T as a second major impact. The distance between the top of the `event beds' and the K-T boundary varies from 20 cm to 1.6 m depending on local tectonics and erosion. Evaluation of the biotic effects of the Chicxulub and K-T impacts upon planktic foraminifera, which suffered most severely of all marine organisms, reveals no species extinctions associated with the Chicxulub impact and no significant species population changes, except for species dwarfing as a result of increased biotic stress. These Brazos results confirm the 65.3 Ma age for the Chicxulub impact determined from NE Mexico and the crater core Yaxcopoil-1. They also show that the Chicxulub impact did not cause a mass extinction

  18. Changes in environmental conditions as the cause of the marine biota Great Mass Extinction at the Triassic-Jurassic boundary

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Barash, M. S.

    2016-02-01

    In the interval of the Triassic-Jurassic boundary, 80% of the marine species became extinct. Four main hypotheses about the causes of this mass extinction are considered: volcanism, climatic oscillations, sea level variations accompanied by anoxia, and asteroid impact events. The extinction was triggered by an extensive flooding of basalts in the Central Atlantic Magmatic Province. Furthermore, a number of meteoritic craters have been found. Under the effect of cosmic causes, two main sequences of events developed on the Earth: terrestrial ones, leading to intensive volcanism, and cosmic ones (asteroid impacts). Their aftermaths, however, were similar in terms of the chemical compounds and aerosols released. As a consequence, the greenhouse effect, dimming of the atmosphere (impeding photosynthesis), ocean stagnation, and anoxia emerged. Then, biological productivity decreased and food chains were destroyed. Thus, the entire ecosystem was disturbed and a considerable part of the biota became extinct.

  19. Climatic changes resulting from mass extinctions at the K-T boundary (and other bio-events)

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Rampino, Michael R.; Volk, Tyler

    1988-01-01

    The mass extinctions at the Cretaceous-Tertiary (K-T) boundary include about 90 percent of marine calcareous nannoplankton (coccoliths), and carbon-isotope data show that marine primary productivity was drastically reduced for about 500,000 years after the boundary event, the so-called Strangelove Ocean effect. One result of the elimination of most marine phytoplankton would have been a severe reduction in production of dimethyl sulfide (DMS), a biogenic gas that is believed to be the major precursor of cloud condensation nuclei (CCN) over the oceans. A drastic reduction in marine CCN should lead to a cloud canopy with significantly lower reflectivity, and hence cause a significant warming at the earth's surface. Calculations suggest that, all other things being held constant, a reduction in CCN of more than 80 percent (a reasonable value for the K-T extinctions) could have produced a rapid global warming of 6 C or more. Oxygen-isotope analyses of marine sediments, and other kinds of paleoclimatic data, have provided for a marked warming, and a general instability of climate coincident with the killoff of marine plankton at the K-T boundary. Similar reductions in phytoplankton abundance at other boundaries, as indicated by marked shifts in carbon-isotope curves, suggest that severe temperature changes may have accompanied other mass extinctions, and raises the intriguing possibility that the extinction events themselves could have contributed to the climatic instabilities at critical bio-events in the geologic record.

  20. Global climate change driven by soot at the K-Pg boundary as the cause of the mass extinction

    PubMed Central

    Kaiho, Kunio; Oshima, Naga; Adachi, Kouji; Adachi, Yukimasa; Mizukami, Takuya; Fujibayashi, Megumu; Saito, Ryosuke

    2016-01-01

    The mass extinction of life 66 million years ago at the Cretaceous/Paleogene boundary, marked by the extinctions of dinosaurs and shallow marine organisms, is important because it led to the macroevolution of mammals and appearance of humans. The current hypothesis for the extinction is that an asteroid impact in present-day Mexico formed condensed aerosols in the stratosphere, which caused the cessation of photosynthesis and global near-freezing conditions. Here, we show that the stratospheric aerosols did not induce darkness that resulted in milder cooling than previously thought. We propose a new hypothesis that latitude-dependent climate changes caused by massive stratospheric soot explain the known mortality and survival on land and in oceans at the Cretaceous/Paleogene boundary. The stratospheric soot was ejected from the oil-rich area by the asteroid impact and was spread globally. The soot aerosols caused sufficiently colder climates at mid–high latitudes and drought with milder cooling at low latitudes on land, in addition to causing limited cessation of photosynthesis in global oceans within a few months to two years after the impact, followed by surface-water cooling in global oceans in a few years. The rapid climate change induced terrestrial extinctions followed by marine extinctions over several years. PMID:27414998

  1. Global climate change driven by soot at the K-Pg boundary as the cause of the mass extinction.

    PubMed

    Kaiho, Kunio; Oshima, Naga; Adachi, Kouji; Adachi, Yukimasa; Mizukami, Takuya; Fujibayashi, Megumu; Saito, Ryosuke

    2016-01-01

    The mass extinction of life 66 million years ago at the Cretaceous/Paleogene boundary, marked by the extinctions of dinosaurs and shallow marine organisms, is important because it led to the macroevolution of mammals and appearance of humans. The current hypothesis for the extinction is that an asteroid impact in present-day Mexico formed condensed aerosols in the stratosphere, which caused the cessation of photosynthesis and global near-freezing conditions. Here, we show that the stratospheric aerosols did not induce darkness that resulted in milder cooling than previously thought. We propose a new hypothesis that latitude-dependent climate changes caused by massive stratospheric soot explain the known mortality and survival on land and in oceans at the Cretaceous/Paleogene boundary. The stratospheric soot was ejected from the oil-rich area by the asteroid impact and was spread globally. The soot aerosols caused sufficiently colder climates at mid-high latitudes and drought with milder cooling at low latitudes on land, in addition to causing limited cessation of photosynthesis in global oceans within a few months to two years after the impact, followed by surface-water cooling in global oceans in a few years. The rapid climate change induced terrestrial extinctions followed by marine extinctions over several years. PMID:27414998

  2. Global climate change driven by soot at the K-Pg boundary as the cause of the mass extinction

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kaiho, Kunio; Oshima, Naga; Adachi, Kouji; Adachi, Yukimasa; Mizukami, Takuya; Fujibayashi, Megumu; Saito, Ryosuke

    2016-07-01

    The mass extinction of life 66 million years ago at the Cretaceous/Paleogene boundary, marked by the extinctions of dinosaurs and shallow marine organisms, is important because it led to the macroevolution of mammals and appearance of humans. The current hypothesis for the extinction is that an asteroid impact in present-day Mexico formed condensed aerosols in the stratosphere, which caused the cessation of photosynthesis and global near-freezing conditions. Here, we show that the stratospheric aerosols did not induce darkness that resulted in milder cooling than previously thought. We propose a new hypothesis that latitude-dependent climate changes caused by massive stratospheric soot explain the known mortality and survival on land and in oceans at the Cretaceous/Paleogene boundary. The stratospheric soot was ejected from the oil-rich area by the asteroid impact and was spread globally. The soot aerosols caused sufficiently colder climates at mid–high latitudes and drought with milder cooling at low latitudes on land, in addition to causing limited cessation of photosynthesis in global oceans within a few months to two years after the impact, followed by surface-water cooling in global oceans in a few years. The rapid climate change induced terrestrial extinctions followed by marine extinctions over several years.

  3. Anoxia, sealevel changes and mass extinctions at the Devonian/Carboniferous boundary

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kaiser, S. I.; Steuber, T.; Becker, R. T.

    2003-04-01

    During the Latest Devonian, the transition from global greenhouse to icehouse conditions began with a first glaciation pulse in SW Gondwana. Decisive palaeoclimatic and palaeoceanographic changes are reflected in the multiphase Late Devonian Hangenberg Event. Mass extinctions, blackshale and sandstone deposits in different palaeogeographical settings were the result of eustatic sea level changes, and probably also of variations in the composition and temperature of seawater during the Late Devonian -- Early Carboniferous. The investigated boundary sections from different palaeogeographical settings include localities in Europe and North Africa. Detailed bed-by-bed sampling of limestones, and field observations on the sedimentology of intercalated siliciclastics were considered important in order to achieve a high-resolution biostratigraphical zonation, precise records of biofacies evolution, and correlation of changes in sedimentary environments. The carbon isotopic composition of micritic limestones and the oxygen isotopic composition of conodont apatite provide important information about palaeoceanographic changes and perturbations in the global carbon cycle during the event interval. Detailed investigations of the sedimentology in Moroccan sections indicate significant variations of facies patterns over short distances. The Famennian pelagic carbonate platform of North-Gondwana was not re-established in the latest Famennian or in the post-event early Tournaisian, which yielded new rich goniatites from blackshales and sandstones. These observations and microfacies analyses from other sections of different palaeolatitudes are important for the reconstruction and correlation of global transgression-regression cycles. The first results of biostratigraphical correlations will be presented together with carbon isotope data of micritic limestone collected from boundary sections in the Rheinische Schiefergebirge and in the Carnic Alps. A slight but continuous decrease

  4. High precision dating of mass extinction events: a combined zircon geochronology, apatite tephrochronology, and Bayesian age modelling approach of the Permian-Triassic boundary extinction

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Baresel, Björn; Bucher, Hugo; Brosse, Morgane; Bagherpour, Borhan; Schaltegger, Urs

    2016-04-01

    Chemical abrasion isotope dilution thermal ionization mass spectrometry (CA-ID-TIMS) U-Pb dating of single-zircon crystals is preferably applied to tephra beds intercalated in sedimentary sequences. By assuming that the zircon crystallization age closely approximate that of the volcanic eruption and ash deposition, U-Pb zircon geochronology is the preferred approach for dating mass extinction events (such as the Permian-Triassic boundary mass extinction) in the sedimentary record. As tephra from large volcanic eruptions is often transported over long distances, it additionally provide an invaluable tool for stratigraphic correlation across distant geologic sections. Therefore, the combination of high-precision zircon geochronology with apatite chemistry of the same tephra bed (so called apatite tephrochronology) provides a robust fingerprint of one particular volcanic eruption. In addition we provide coherent Bayesian model ages for the Permian-Triassic boundary (PTB) mass extinction, then compare it with PTB model ages at Meishan after Burgess et al. (2014). We will present new high-precision U-Pb zircon dates for a series of volcanic ash beds in deep- and shallow-marine Permian-Triassic sections in the Nanpanjiang Basin, South China. In addition, apatite crystals out of the same ash beds were analysed focusing on their halogen (F, Cl) and trace-element (e.g. Fe, Mg, REE) chemistry. We also show that Bayesian age models produce reproducible results from different geologic sections. On the basis of these data, including litho- and biostratigraphic correlations, we can precisely and accurately constrain the Permian-Triassic boundary in an equatorial marine setting, and correlate tephra beds over different sections and facies in the Nanpanjiang Basin independently from litho-, bio- or chemostratigraphic criteria. The results evidence that data produced in laboratories associated to the global EARTHTIME consortium can provide age information at the 0.05% level of 206

  5. Mass extinctions, atmospheric sulphur and climatic warming at the K/T boundary

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Rampino, Michael R.; Volk, Tyler

    1988-01-01

    The possible climatic effects of a drastic decrease in cloud condensation nuclei (CCN) associated with a severe reduction in the global marine phytoplankton abundance are investigated. Calculations suggest that a reduction in CCN of more than 80 percent and the resulting decrease in marine cloud albedo could have produced a rapid global warming of 6 C or more. Oxygen isotope analyses of marine sediments from many parts of the world have been interpreted as indicating a marked warming coincident with the demise of calcareous nannoplankton at the K/T boundary. Decreased marine cloud albedo and resulting high sea surface temperatures could have been a factor in the maintenance of low productivity in the 'Strangelove Ocean' period following the K/T extinctions.

  6. Mass extinction: a commentary

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Raup, D. M.

    1987-01-01

    Four neocatastrophist claims about mass extinction are currently being debated; they are that: 1, the late Cretaceous mass extinction was caused by large body impact; 2, as many as five other major extinctions were caused by impact; 3, the timing of extinction events since the Permian is uniformly periodic; and 4, the ages of impact craters on Earth are also periodic and in phase with the extinctions. Although strongly interconnected the four claims are independent in the sense that none depends on the others. Evidence for a link between impact and extinction is strong but still needs more confirmation through bed-by-bed and laboratory studies. An important area for future research is the question of whether extinction is a continuous process, with the rate increasing at times of mass extinctions, or whether it is episodic at all scales. If the latter is shown to be generally true, then species are at risk of extinction only rarely during their existence and catastrophism, in the sense of isolated events of extreme stress, is indicated. This is line of reasoning can only be considered an hypothesis for testing. In a larger context, paleontologists may benefit from a research strategy that looks to known Solar System and Galactic phenomena for predictions about environmental effects on earth. The recent success in the recognition of Milankovitch Cycles in the late Pleistocene record is an example of the potential of this research area.

  7. Mass extinction causes debated

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Katzoff, Judith A.

    A highly charged atmosphere and a tacit agreement to disagree marked the first Union session at the 1985 AGU Fall Meeting,“Where Are We Now on Iridium, Anomalies, Extinctions, Impacts, Volcanism, and Periodicity?” The session brought together a remarkably large and varied group of participants who are studying topics related to mass extinctions. “The important thing is bringing all these people together, sharing … how they think,” said J. John Sepkoski, Jr., of the University of Chicago, who presented one of the session's invited papers.The controversies under discussion included the nature of the catastrophic events that may have occurred 65 million years ago to precipitate mass extinctions between the Cretaceous and Tertiary periods and whether mass extinctions have occurred at regular intervals (and if so, what those intervals are). Both the group advocating extraterrestrial impacts and that advocating episodes of unusual terrestrial volcanism seemed to agree that both kinds of catastrophes would have brought on highly acidic precipitation that could have threatened many life forms. In fact, one paleontologist called for closer examination of patterns of survival during periods of mass extinctions in order to gain clues about the nature of the events that may have brought on the extinctions. “The survivors … set limits on what could have occurred,” said William A. Clemens of the University of California, Berkeley.

  8. Carbon cycle perturbation and stabilization in the wake of the Triassic-Jurassic boundary mass-extinction event

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    van de Schootbrugge, B.; Payne, J. L.; Tomasovych, A.; Pross, J.; Fiebig, J.; Benbrahim, M.; FöLlmi, K. B.; Quan, T. M.

    2008-04-01

    The Triassic-Jurassic boundary mass-extinction event (T-J; 199.6 Ma) is associated with major perturbations in the carbon cycle recorded in stable carbon isotopes. Two rapid negative isotope excursions in bulk organic carbon (δ13Corg) occur within the immediate boundary interval at multiple locations and have been linked to the outgassing of 12C-enriched CO2 from the Central Atlantic Magmatic Province. In British Columbia, a positive δ13Corg excursion of +5‰ (Vienna Peedee belemnite (V-PDB)) spans part or all of the subsequent Hettangian stage. Here, we examine the significance of these carbon isotope excursions as records of global carbon cycle dynamics across the T-J boundary and test the link between carbon cycle perturbation-stabilization and biotic extinction-recovery patterns. A combination of δ13Corg and palynological analyses from the Late Triassic to Early Jurassic in the Mingolsheim core (Germany) suggests that organic carbon isotope variations are best explained as the result of both compositional changes in terrestrial versus marine input and disturbance and recovery patterns of major terrestrial plant groups across the T-J boundary. A new high-resolution δ13Ccarb record from the Val Adrara section in the Southern Alps (Italy) spanning from the uppermost Rhaetian through Lower Sinemurian does not exhibit a negative excursion at the T-J boundary but does record a large positive δ13Ccarb excursion of +4‰ (V-PDB) in bulk carbonate that begins at the T-J boundary and reaches a local maximum at the Early Late Hettangian boundary. Values then gradually decrease reaching +0.5‰ at the Hettangian-Sinemurian boundary and remain relatively constant into the Early Sinemurian. Complementary δ13Ccarb data from 4 more sections that span the Hettangian-Sinemurian boundary support carbon cycle stabilization within the Upper Hettangian. Our analyses suggest that isotope changes in organic carbon reservoirs do not necessarily require a shift in the global

  9. Abrupt ocean anoxia and mass extinction at the Hangenberg crisis, Devonian-Carboniferous boundary

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Schmitz, M. D.; Davydov, V. I.

    2012-12-01

    The late Devonian period hosts a set of profound biotic crises accompanying episodes of tropical ocean anoxia, positive carbon isotope excursions, relative sea level rise and fall, and apparent global climatic cooling. The Hangenberg event, at the close of the Devonian, is the last of these crises which ushered in a new and long-lived icehouse climate regime spanning the Carboniferous and early Permian. New high-precision U-Pb zircon ages for bracketing volcanic tuffs constrain the timing and tempo of the Hangenberg biotic crisis. When combined with quantitative biostratigraphic analysis, these data constrain the duration of tropical ocean anoxia, mass extinction and carbon cycle perturbation to less than 100 thousand years. This rapidity and duration is consistent with a model of orbitally-forced cooling resulting in enhancement of oceanic circulation, in turn promoting catastrophic overturn, upwelling of anoxic bottom waters onto the tropical continental shelves, and consequent biotic reorganization. Enhanced organic carbon burial evidenced by a positive carbon isotope spike is also revealed as rapid and short-lived, but sufficient to draw down atmospheric CO2 and initiate a glacial pulse restricted to a single short period eccentricity cycle at the end-Devonian.

  10. Correlated terrestrial and marine evidence for global climate changes before mass extinction at the Cretaceous-Paleogene boundary.

    PubMed

    Wilf, Peter; Johnson, Kirk R; Huber, Brian T

    2003-01-21

    Terrestrial climates near the time of the end-Cretaceous mass extinction are poorly known, limiting understanding of environmentally driven changes in biodiversity that occurred before bolide impact. We estimate paleotemperatures for the last approximately 1.1 million years of the Cretaceous ( approximately 66.6-65.5 million years ago, Ma) by using fossil plants from North Dakota and employ paleomagnetic stratigraphy to correlate the results to foraminiferal paleoclimatic data from four middle- and high-latitude sites. Both plants and foraminifera indicate warming near 66.0 Ma, a warming peak from approximately 65.8 to 65.6 Ma, and cooling near 65.6 Ma, suggesting that these were global climate shifts. The warming peak coincides with the immigration of a thermophilic flora, maximum plant diversity, and the poleward range expansion of thermophilic foraminifera. Plant data indicate the continuation of relatively cool temperatures across the Cretaceous-Paleogene boundary; there is no indication of a major warming immediately after the boundary as previously reported. Our temperature proxies correspond well with recent pCO(2) data from paleosol carbonate, suggesting a coupling of pCO(2) and temperature. To the extent that biodiversity is correlated with temperature, estimates of the severity of end-Cretaceous extinctions that are based on occurrence data from the warming peak are probably inflated, as we illustrate for North Dakota plants. However, our analysis of climate and facies considerations shows that the effects of bolide impact should be regarded as the most significant contributor to these plant extinctions. PMID:12524455

  11. Correlated terrestrial and marine evidence for global climate changes before mass extinction at the Cretaceous–Paleogene boundary

    PubMed Central

    Wilf, Peter; Johnson, Kirk R.; Huber, Brian T.

    2003-01-01

    Terrestrial climates near the time of the end-Cretaceous mass extinction are poorly known, limiting understanding of environmentally driven changes in biodiversity that occurred before bolide impact. We estimate paleotemperatures for the last ≈1.1 million years of the Cretaceous (≈66.6–65.5 million years ago, Ma) by using fossil plants from North Dakota and employ paleomagnetic stratigraphy to correlate the results to foraminiferal paleoclimatic data from four middle- and high-latitude sites. Both plants and foraminifera indicate warming near 66.0 Ma, a warming peak from ≈65.8 to 65.6 Ma, and cooling near 65.6 Ma, suggesting that these were global climate shifts. The warming peak coincides with the immigration of a thermophilic flora, maximum plant diversity, and the poleward range expansion of thermophilic foraminifera. Plant data indicate the continuation of relatively cool temperatures across the Cretaceous–Paleogene boundary; there is no indication of a major warming immediately after the boundary as previously reported. Our temperature proxies correspond well with recent pCO2 data from paleosol carbonate, suggesting a coupling of pCO2 and temperature. To the extent that biodiversity is correlated with temperature, estimates of the severity of end-Cretaceous extinctions that are based on occurrence data from the warming peak are probably inflated, as we illustrate for North Dakota plants. However, our analysis of climate and facies considerations shows that the effects of bolide impact should be regarded as the most significant contributor to these plant extinctions. PMID:12524455

  12. Flood basalts and mass extinctions

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Morgan, W. Jason

    1988-01-01

    There appears to be a correlation between the times of flood basalts and mass-extinction events. There is a correlation of flood basalts and hotspot tracks--flood basalts appear to mark the beginning of a new hotspot. Perhaps there is an initial instability in the mantle that bursts forth as a flood basalt but then becomes a steady trickle that persists for many tens of millions of years. Suppose that flood basalts and not impacts cause the environmental changes that lead to mass-extinctions. This is a very testable hypothesis: it predicts that the ages of the flows should agree exactly with the times of extinctions. The Deccan and K-T ages agree with this hypothesis; An iridium anomaly at extinction boundaries apparently can be explained by a scaled-up eruption of the Hawaiian type; the occurrence of shocked-quartz is more of a problem. However if the flood basalts are all well dated and their ages indeed agree with extinction times, then surely some mechanism to appropriately produce shocked-quartz will be found.

  13. Mass Extinctions Past and Present.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Allmon, Warren Douglas

    1987-01-01

    Discusses some parallels that seem to exist between mass extinction recognizable in the geologic record and the impending extinction of a significant proportion of the earth's species due largely to tropical deforestation. Describes some recent theories of causal factors and periodicities in mass extinction. (Author/TW)

  14. Octopods: Nude ammonoids that survived the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary mass extinction

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lewy, Z.

    1996-07-01

    Certain ammonoids changed the mode of coiling or the growth angle of their last body chamber, constricted the terminal aperture, or developed apertural processes, which restricted all life functions. The modified terminal body chamber of macroconchs apparently functioned as a floating egg case for a single breeding phase. The young that hatched from tiny eggs fed on the enclosed female corpse. This same breeding strategy is executed by the extant octopod Argonauta. As a nude cephalopod, the sexually mature female secretes an egg case, which resembles Cretaceous ammonites, for the tiny eggs. The remarkable similarity in mode of breeding between Argonauta and ammonoids with modified terminal body chambers suggests that the ancestral argonautid was a nude ammonoid. Other octopods, which lay large, yolk-rich eggs attached onto substrates, likewise originate from ancestral nude ammonoids, which, however, did not breed in a floating egg case. Nude ammonoids crossed the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary, as did the genuine coleoids comprising rudimentary endoskeletons.

  15. High precision time calibration of the Permo-Triassic boundary mass extinction by U-Pb geochronology

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Baresel, Björn; Bucher, Hugo; Brosse, Morgane; Schaltegger, Urs

    2014-05-01

    U-Pb dating using Chemical Abrasion, Isotope Dilution Thermal Ionization Mass Spectrometry (CA-ID-TIMS) is the analytical method of choice for geochronologists, who are seeking highest temporal resolution and a high degree of accuracy for single grains of zircon. The use of double-isotope tracer solutions, cross-calibrated and assessed in different EARTHTIME labs, coinciding with the reassessment of the uranium decay constants and further improvements in ion counting technology led to unprecedented precision better than 0.1% for single grain, and 0.05% for population ages, respectively. These analytical innovations now allow calibrating magmatic and biological timescales at resolution adequate for both groups of processes. To construct a revised and high resolution calibrated time scale for the Permian-Triassic boundary (PTB) we use (i) high-precision U-Pb zircon age determinations of a unique succession of volcanic ash beds interbedded with shallow to deep water fossiliferous sediments in the Nanpanjiang Basin (South China) combined with (ii) accurate quantitative biochronology based on ammonoids and conodonts and (iii) carbon isotope excursions across the PTB. Using these alignments allows (i) positioning the PTB in different depositional environments and (ii) solving age/stratigraphic contradictions generated by the index, water depth-controlled conodont Hindeodus parvus, whose diachronous first occurrences are arbitrarily used for placing the base of the Triassic. This new age framework provides the basis for a combined calibration of chemostratigraphic records with high-resolution biochronozones of the Late Permian and Early Triassic. Besides the general improvement of the radio-isotopic calibration of the PTB at the ±100 ka level, this will also lead to a better understanding of cause and effect relations involved in this mass extinction.

  16. The Geochemistry of Mass Extinction

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kump, L. R.

    2003-12-01

    The course of biological evolution is inextricably linked to that of the environment through an intricate network of feedbacks that span all scales of space and time. Disruptions to the environment have biological consequences, and vice versa. Fossils provide the prima facie evidence for biotic disruptions: catastrophic losses of global biodiversity at various times in the Phanerozoic. However, the forensic evidence for the causes and environmental consequences of these mass extinctions resides primarily in the geochemical composition of sedimentary rocks deposited during the extinction intervals. Thus, advancement in our understanding of mass extinctions requires detailed knowledge obtained from both paleontological and geochemical records.This chapter reviews the state of knowledge concerning the geochemistry of the "big five" extinctions of the Phanerozoic (e.g., Sepkoski, 1993): the Late Ordovician (Hirnantian; 440 Ma), the Late Devonian (an extended or multiple event with its apex at the Frasnian-Famennian (F-F) boundary; 367 Ma), the Permian-Triassic (P-Tr; 251 Ma), the Triassic-Jurassic (Tr-J; 200 Ma), and the Cretaceous-Tertiary (K-T; 65 Ma). The focus on the big five is a matter of convenience, as there is a continuum in extinction rates from "background" to "mass extinction." Although much of the literature on extinctions centers on the causes and extents of biodiversity loss, in recent years paleontologists have begun to focus on recoveries (see, e.g., Hart, 1996; Kirchner and Weil, 2000; Erwin, 2001 and references therein).To the extent that the duration of the recovery interval may reflect a slow relaxation of the environment from perturbation, analysis of the geochemical record of recovery is an integral part of this effort. In interpreting the geochemical and biological records of recovery, we need to maintain a clear distinction among the characteristics of the global biota: their biodiversity (affected by differences in origination and extinction

  17. Triggers of Permo-Triassic boundary mass extinction in South China: The Siberian Traps or Paleo-Tethys ignimbrite flare-up?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    He, Bin; Zhong, Yu-Ting; Xu, Yi-Gang; Li, Xian-Hua

    2014-09-01

    Assessment of the synchroneity between the Siberian Traps and the Permo-Triassic boundary (PTB) mass extinction has led to the proposition that the Siberian flood volcanism was responsible for the severest biotic crisis in the Phanerozoic. However, recent studies suggest that the Siberian Traps may have postdated the main extinction horizon. In this paper, we demonstrate, using stratigraphy, a time and intensity coincidence between PTB volcanic ash and the main extinction horizon. Geochemistry of the PTB volcanic ashes in five sections in South China indicates that they were derived from continental magmatic arc. Zircons extracted from the PTB volcanic ashes have negative εHf(t) (- 12.9 to - 2.0) and δ18O (6.8 to 10.9‰), consistent with an acidic volcanism and a crustal-derived origin, and therefore exclude a genetic link between the PTB mass extinction and the Siberian Traps. On the basis of spatial variation in the number of the PTB volcanic ash layers and the thickness of the ash layers in South China, we propose that the PTB volcanic ash may be related to Paleo-Tethys continental arc magmatism in the Kunlun area. Ignimbrite flare-up related to rapid plate subduction during the final assemblage of the Pangea super-continent may have generated a volcanic winter, which eventually triggered the collapse of ecosystem and ultimately mass extinction at the end of the Permian. The Siberian Traps may have been responsible for a greenhouse effect and so have been responsible for both a second pulse of the extinction event and Early Triassic ecological evolution.

  18. Mass Extinctions in Earth's History

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ward, P. D.

    2002-12-01

    Mass extinctions are short intervals of elevated species death. Possible causes of Earth's mass extinctions are both external (astronomical) and internal (tectonic and biotic changes from planetary mechanisms). Paleontologists have identified five "major" mass extinctions (>50 die-off in less than a million years) and more than 20 other minor events over the past 550 million years. Earlier major extinction events undoubtedly also occurred, but we have no fossil record; these were probably associated with, for example, the early heavy bombardment that cleared out the solar system, the advent of oxygen in the atmosphere, and various "snowball Earth" events. Mass extinctions are viewed as both destructive (species death ) and constructive, in that they allow evolutionary innovation in the wake of species disappearances. From an astrobiological perspective, mass extinctions must be considered as able both to reduce biodiversity and even potentially end life on any planet. Of the five major mass extinctions identified on Earth, only one (the Cretaceous/Tertiary event 65 million years ago that famously killed off the dinosaurs ) is unambiguously related to the impact of an asteroid or comet ( 10-km diameter). The Permian/Triassic (250 Myr ago) and Triassic/Jurassic (202 Myr ago) events are now the center of debate between those favoring impact and those suggesting large volume flooding by basaltic lavas. The final two events, Ordovician (440 Myr ago) and Devonian (370 Myr ago) have no accepted causal mechanisms.

  19. The impact of mass extinctions

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Flessa, Karl W.

    1988-01-01

    In the years since Snowbird an explosive growth of research on the patterns, causes, and consequences of extinction was seen. The fossil record of extinction is better known, stratigraphic sections were scrutinized in great detail, and additional markers of environmental change were discovered in the rock record. However flawed, the fossil record is the only record that exists of natural extinction. Compilations from the primary literature contain a faint periodic signal: the extinctions of the past 250 my may be regulary spaced. The reality of the periodicity remains a subject for debate. The implications of periodicity are so profound that the debate is sure to continue. The greater precision from stratigraphic sections spanning extinction events has yet to resolve controversies concerning the rates at which extinctions occurred. Some sections seem to record sudden terminations, while others suggest gradual or steplike environmental deterioration. Unfortunately, the manner in which the strata record extinctions and compile stratigraphic ranges makes a strictly literal reading of the fossil record inadvisable. Much progress was made in the study of mass extinctions. The issues are more sharply defined but they are not fully resolved. Scenarios should look back to the phenomena they purport to explain - not just an iridium-rich layer, but the complex fabric of a mass extinction.

  20. What Caused the Mass Extinction?

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Alvarez, Walter; And Others

    1990-01-01

    Presented are the arguments of two different points of view on the mass extinction of the dinosaurs. Evidence of extraterrestrial impact theory and massive volcanic eruption theory are discussed. (CW)

  1. Supernovae and mass extinctions

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Vandenbergh, S.

    1994-01-01

    Shklovsky and others have suggested that some of the major extinctions in the geological record might have been triggered by explosions of nearby supernovae. The frequency of such extinction events will depend on the galactic supernova frequency and on the distance up to which a supernova explosion will produce lethal effects upon terrestrial life. In the present note it will be assumed that a killer supernova has to occur so close to Earth that it will be embedded in a young, active, supernova remnant. Such young remnants typically have radii approximately less than 3 pc (1 x 10(exp 19) cm). Larger (more pessimistic?) killer radii have been adopted by Ruderman, Romig, and by Ellis and Schramm. From observations of historical supernovae, van den Bergh finds that core-collapse (types Ib and II) supernovae occur within 4 kpc of the Sun at a rate of 0.2 plus or minus 0.1 per century. Adopting a layer thickness of 0.3 kpc for the galacitc disk, this corresponds to a rate of approximately 1.3 x 10(exp -4) supernovae pc(exp -3) g.y.(exp -1). Including supernovae of type Ia will increase the total supernovae rate to approximately 1.5 x 10(exp -4) supernovae pc(exp -3) g.y.(exp -1). For a lethal radius of R pc the rate of killer events will therefore be 1.7 (R/3)(exp 3) x 10(exp -2) supernovae per g.y. However, a frequency of a few extinctions per g.y. is required to account for the extinctions observed during the phanerozoic. With R (extinction) approximately 3 pc, the galactic supernova frequency is therefore too low by 2 orders of magnitude to account for the major extinctions in the geological record.

  2. The Sixth Great Mass Extinction

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Wagler, Ron

    2012-01-01

    Five past great mass extinctions have occurred during Earth's history. Humanity is currently in the midst of a sixth, human-induced great mass extinction of plant and animal life (e.g., Alroy 2008; Jackson 2008; Lewis 2006; McDaniel and Borton 2002; Rockstrom et al. 2009; Rohr et al. 2008; Steffen, Crutzen, and McNeill 2007; Thomas et al. 2004;…

  3. Mass extinctions: Ecological selectivity and primary production

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rhodes, Melissa Clark; Thayer, Charles W.

    1991-09-01

    If mass extinctions were caused by reduced primary productivity, then extinctions should be concentrated among animals with starvation-susceptible feeding modes, active lifestyles, and high-energy budgets. The stratigraphic ranges (by stage) of 424 genera of bivalves and 309 genera of articulate brachiopods suggest that there was an unusual reduction of primary productivity at the Cretaceous/Tertiary (K/T) boundary extinction. For bivalves at the K/T, there were (1) selective extinction of suspension feeders and other susceptible trophic categories relative to deposit feeders and other resistant categories, and (2) among suspension feed-ers, selective extinction of bivalves with active locomotion. During the Permian-Triassic (P/Tr) extinction and Jurassic background time, extinction rates among suspension feeders were greater for articulate brachiopods than for bivalves. But during the K/T event, extinction rates of articulates and suspension-feeding bivalves equalized, possibly because the low-energy budgets of articulates gave them an advantage when food was scarce.

  4. Life in the Aftermath of Mass Extinctions.

    PubMed

    Hull, Pincelli

    2015-10-01

    The vast majority of species that have ever lived went extinct sometime other than during one of the great mass extinction events. In spite of this, mass extinctions are thought to have outsized effects on the evolutionary history of life. While part of this effect is certainly due to the extinction itself, I here consider how the aftermaths of mass extinctions might contribute to the evolutionary importance of such events. Following the mass loss of taxa from the fossil record are prolonged intervals of ecological upheaval that create a selective regime unique to those times. The pacing and duration of ecosystem change during extinction aftermaths suggests strong ties between the biosphere and geosphere, and a previously undescribed macroevolutionary driver - earth system succession. Earth system succession occurs when global environmental or biotic change, as occurs across extinction boundaries, pushes the biosphere and geosphere out of equilibrium. As species and ecosystems re-evolve in the aftermath, they change global biogeochemical cycles - and in turn, species and ecosystems - over timescales typical of the geosphere, often many thousands to millions of years. Earth system succession provides a general explanation for the pattern and timing of ecological and evolutionary change in the fossil record. Importantly, it also suggests that a speed limit might exist for the pace of global biotic change after massive disturbance - a limit set by geosphere-biosphere interactions. For mass extinctions, earth system succession may drive the ever-changing ecological stage on which species evolve, restructuring ecosystems and setting long-term evolutionary trajectories as they do. PMID:26439357

  5. Mass extinctions in the deep sea

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Thomas, E.

    1988-01-01

    The character of mass extinctions can be assessed by studying extinction patterns of organisms, the fabric of the extinction, and assessing the environmental niche and mode of life of survivors. Deep-sea benthic foraminifera have been listed as little affected by the Cretaceous-Tertiary (K-T) mass extinction, but very few quantitative data are available. New data on deep-sea Late Maestrichtian-Eocene benthic foraminifera from Maud Rise (Antractica) indicate that about 10 percent of the species living at depths of 2000 to 2500 m had last appearances within 1 my of the Cretaceous-Tertiary (K-T) boundary, versus about 25 percent of species at 1000 to 1500 m. Many survivors from the Cretaceous became extinct in a period of global deep-sea benthic foraminiferal extinction at the end of the Paleocene, a time otherwise marked by very few extinctions. Preliminary conclusions suggest that the deep oceanic environment is essentially decoupled from the shallow marine and terrestrial environment, and that even major disturbances of one of these will not greatly affect the other. This gives deep-sea benthic faunas a good opportunity to recolonize shallow environments from greater depths and vice versa after massive extinctions. The decoupling means that data on deep-sea benthic boundary was caused by the environmental effects of asteriod impact or excessive volcanism. The benthic foraminiferal data strongly suggest, however, that the environmental results were strongest at the Earth's surface, and that there was no major disturbance of the deep ocean; this pattern might result both from excessive volcanism and from an impact on land.

  6. Mass extinctions: Persistent problems and new directions

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Jablonski, D.

    1994-01-01

    Few contest that mass extinctions have punctuated the history of life, or that those events were so pervasive environmentally, taxonomically, and geographically that physical forcing factors were probably involved. However, consensus remains elusive on the nature of those factors, and on how a given perturbation - impact, volcanism, sea-level change, or ocean anoxic event - could actually generate the observed intensity and selectivity of biotic losses. At least two basic problems underlie these long-standing disagreements: difficulties in resolving the fine details of taxon ranges and abundances immediately prior to and after an extinction boundary and the scarcity of simple, unitary cause-and-effect relations in complex biological systems.

  7. Mass Extinctions and Biosphere-Geosphere Stability

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rothman, Daniel; Bowring, Samuel

    2015-04-01

    Five times in the past 500 million years, mass extinctions have resulted in the loss of greater than three-fourths of living species. Each of these events is associated with significant environmental change recorded in the carbon-isotopic composition of sedimentary rocks. There are also many such environmental events in the geologic record that are not associated with mass extinctions. What makes them different? Two factors appear important: the size of the environmental perturbation, and the time scale over which it occurs. We show that the natural perturbations of Earth's carbon cycle during the past 500 million years exhibit a characteristic rate of change over two orders of magnitude in time scale. This characteristic rate is consistent with the maximum rate that limits quasistatic (i.e., near steady-state) evolution of the carbon cycle. We identify this rate with marginal stability, and show that mass extinctions occur on the fast, unstable side of the stability boundary. These results suggest that the great extinction events of the geologic past, and potentially a "sixth extinction" associated with modern environmental change, are characterized by common mechanisms of instability.

  8. Magnetostratigraphy of a Marine Triassic-Jurassic Boundary Section, Kennecott Point, Queen Charlotte Islands: Implications for the Temporal Correlation of a 'Big Five' Mass Extinction Event.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hilburn, I. A.; Kirschvink, J. L.; Ward, P. D.; Haggart, J. W.; Raub, T. D.

    2008-12-01

    Several causes have been proposed for Triassic-Jurassic (T-J) boundary extinctions, including global ocean anoxia/euxinia, an impact event, and/or eruption of the massive Central Atlantic Magmatic Province (CAMP), but poor intercontinental correlation makes testing these difficult. Sections at Kennecott Point, Queen Charlotte Islands, British Columbia span the late Norian through Rhaetian (Triassic) and into the earliest Hettangian (Jurassic) and provide the best integrated magneto- and chemostratigraphic framework for placing necessary temporal constraints upon the T-J mass extinctions. At Kennecott Point, turnover of radiolaria and ammonoids define the T-J boundary marine extinction and are coincident with a 2 ‰ negative excursion in δ13Corg similar in magnitude to that observed at Ferguson Hill (Muller Canyon), Nevada (1, 2). With Conodont Alteration Index values in the 1-2 range, Kennecott Point provides the ideal setting for use of magnetostratigraphy to tie the marine isotope excursion into the chronostratigraphic framework of the Newark, Hartford, and Fundy Basins. In the summer of 2005, we collected a ~1m resolution magnetostratigraphic section from 105 m of deep marine, silt- and sandstone turbidites and interbedded mudstones, spanning the T-J boundary at Kennecott Point. Hybrid progressive demagnetization - including zero-field, low-temperature cycling; low-field AF cleaning; and thermal demagnetization in ~25°C steps to 445°C under flowing N2 gas (3) - first removed a Northerly, steeply inclined component interpreted to be a Tertiary overprint, revealing an underlying dual-polarity component of moderate inclination. Five major polarity zones extend through our section, with several short, one-sample reversals interspersed amongst them. Comparison of this pattern with other T-J boundary sections (4-6) argues for a Northern hemisphere origin of our site, albeit with large vertical-axis rotations. A long normal chron bounds the T-J boundary punctuated

  9. The end-triassic mass extinction event

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Hallam, A.

    1988-01-01

    The end-Triassic is the least studied of the five major episodes of mass extinction recognized in the Phanerozoic, and the Triassic-Jurassic boundary is not precisely defined in most parts of the world, with a paucity of good marine sections and an insufficiency of biostratigraphically valuable fossils. Despite these limitations it is clear that there was a significant episode of mass extinction, affecting many groups, in the Late Norian and the existing facts are consistent with it having taken place at the very end of the period. The best record globally comes from marine strata. There was an almost complete turnover of ammonites across the T-J boundary, with perhaps no more than one genus surviving. About half the bivalve genera and most of the species went extinct, as did many archaeogastropods. Many Paleozoic-dominant brachiopods also disappeared, as did the last of the conodonts. There was a major collapse and disappearance of the Alpine calcareous sponge. Among terrestrial biota, a significant extinction event involving tetrapods was recognized. With regard to possible environmental events that may be postulated to account for the extinctions, there is no evidence of any significant global change of climate at this time. The existence of the large Manicouagan crater in Quebec, dated as about late or end-Triassic, has led to the suggestion that an impact event might be implicated, but so far despite intensive search no unequivocal iridium anomaly or shocked quartz was discovered. On the other hand there is strong evidence for significant marine regression in many parts of the world. It is proposed therefore that the likeliest cause of the marine extinctions is severe reduction in habitat area caused either by regression of epicontinental seas, subsequent widespread anoxia during the succeeding transgression, or a combination of the two.

  10. Comparison of experimental and fossil leaf morphospace occupation suggests a role for atmospheric composition in driving morphospace change across a mass extinction boundary

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bacon, Karen; McElwain, Jennifer

    2016-04-01

    The Triassic-Jurassic boundary (~201 mya) marks a period of intense climate change associated with a mass extinction event and major volcanism. The impact of these environmental stresses has been well-documented; however, a detailed analysis of the morphospace response of plants across the boundary has not been conducted. In order to determine the impact of changing atmospheric composition on leaf morphospace occupation, we compared a fossil flora to controlled environment experiments. We analysed morphometric data for over 2,000 well-preserved leaf fossils from nine plant beds across the TJ of Astartekløft, East Greenland. Data including leaf length, width, area, and shape were used to determine morphospace occupation for each bed at the site. In the lower Triassic beds, morphospace occupation is high compared to a severe reduction at and across the boundary, contemporaneous with peak reconstructed CO2 and hypothesised elevated SO2 and other volcanic gases. These findings were compared to controlled environment experiments, where the same measurements were made on leaves from nearest living equivalent taxa grown in simulated palaeoatmospheric conditions. These experiments revealed that exposure to SO2, but not to variations in either CO2 or O2, produced a similar sever reduction in morphospace occupation. These findings together suggest that atmospheric composition change across the TJ, and particularly an elevation in SO2, had a role in heavily disrupting the plant community morphospace of East Greenland.

  11. High precision time calibration of the Permian-Triassic boundary mass extinction event in a deep marine context

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Baresel, Björn; Bucher, Hugo; Brosse, Morgane; Bagherpour, Borhan; Schaltegger, Urs

    2015-04-01

    To construct a revised and high resolution calibrated time scale for the Permian-Triassic boundary (PTB) we use (1) high-precision U-Pb zircon age determinations of a unique succession of volcanic ash layers interbedded with deep water fossiliferous sediments in the Nanpanjiang Basin (South China) combined with (2) accurate quantitative biochronology based on ammonoids, conodonts, radiolarians, and foraminifera and (3) tracers of marine bioproductivity (carbon isotopes) across the PTB. The unprecedented precision of the single grain chemical abrasion isotope-dilution thermal ionization mass spectrometry (CA-ID-TIMS) dating technique at sub-per mil level (radio-isotopic calibration of the PTB at the <100 ka level) now allows calibrating magmatic and biological timescales at resolution adequate for both groups of processes. Using these alignments allows (1) positioning the PTB in different depositional setting and (2) solving the age contradictions generated by the misleading use of the first occurrence (FO) of the conodont Hindeodus parvus, whose diachronous first occurrences are arbitrarily used for placing the base of the Triassic. This new age framework provides the basis for a combined calibration of chemostratigraphic records with high-resolution biochronozones of the Late Permian and Early Triassic. Here, we present new single grain U-Pb zircon data of volcanic ash layers from two deep marine sections (Dongpan and Penglaitan) revealing stratigraphic consistent dates over several volcanic ash layers bracketing the PTB. These analyses define weighted mean 206Pb/238U ages of 251.956±0.033 Ma (Dongpan) and 252.062±0.043 Ma (Penglaitan) for the last Permian ash bed. By calibration with detailed litho- and biostratigraphy new U-Pb ages of 251.953±0.038 Ma (Dongpan) and 251.907±0.033 Ma (Penglaitan) are established for the onset of the Triassic.

  12. If Dung Beetles (Scarabaeidae: Scarabaeinae) Arose in Association with Dinosaurs, Did They Also Suffer a Mass Co-Extinction at the K-Pg Boundary?

    PubMed

    Gunter, Nicole L; Weir, Tom A; Slipinksi, Adam; Bocak, Ladislav; Cameron, Stephen L

    2016-01-01

    The evolutionary success of beetles and numerous other terrestrial insects is generally attributed to co-radiation with flowering plants but most studies have focused on herbivorous or pollinating insects. Non-herbivores represent a significant proportion of beetle diversity yet potential factors that influence their diversification have been largely unexamined. In the present study, we examine the factors driving diversification within the Scarabaeidae, a speciose beetle family with a range of both herbivorous and non-herbivorous ecologies. In particular, it has been long debated whether the key event in the evolution of dung beetles (Scarabaeidae: Scarabaeinae) was an adaptation to feeding on dinosaur or mammalian dung. Here we present molecular evidence to show that the origin of dung beetles occurred in the middle of the Cretaceous, likely in association with dinosaur dung, but more surprisingly the timing is consistent with the rise of the angiosperms. We hypothesize that the switch in dinosaur diet to incorporate more nutritious and less fibrous angiosperm foliage provided a palatable dung source that ultimately created a new niche for diversification. Given the well-accepted mass extinction of non-avian dinosaurs at the Cretaceous-Paleogene boundary, we examine a potential co-extinction of dung beetles due to the loss of an important evolutionary resource, i.e., dinosaur dung. The biogeography of dung beetles is also examined to explore the previously proposed "out of Africa" hypothesis. Given the inferred age of Scarabaeinae as originating in the Lower Cretaceous, the major radiation of dung feeders prior to the Cenomanian, and the early divergence of both African and Gondwanan lineages, we hypothesise that that faunal exchange between Africa and Gondwanaland occurred during the earliest evolution of the Scarabaeinae. Therefore we propose that both Gondwanan vicariance and dispersal of African lineages is responsible for present day distribution of

  13. If Dung Beetles (Scarabaeidae: Scarabaeinae) Arose in Association with Dinosaurs, Did They Also Suffer a Mass Co-Extinction at the K-Pg Boundary?

    PubMed Central

    Gunter, Nicole L.; Weir, Tom A.; Cameron, Stephen L.

    2016-01-01

    The evolutionary success of beetles and numerous other terrestrial insects is generally attributed to co-radiation with flowering plants but most studies have focused on herbivorous or pollinating insects. Non-herbivores represent a significant proportion of beetle diversity yet potential factors that influence their diversification have been largely unexamined. In the present study, we examine the factors driving diversification within the Scarabaeidae, a speciose beetle family with a range of both herbivorous and non-herbivorous ecologies. In particular, it has been long debated whether the key event in the evolution of dung beetles (Scarabaeidae: Scarabaeinae) was an adaptation to feeding on dinosaur or mammalian dung. Here we present molecular evidence to show that the origin of dung beetles occurred in the middle of the Cretaceous, likely in association with dinosaur dung, but more surprisingly the timing is consistent with the rise of the angiosperms. We hypothesize that the switch in dinosaur diet to incorporate more nutritious and less fibrous angiosperm foliage provided a palatable dung source that ultimately created a new niche for diversification. Given the well-accepted mass extinction of non-avian dinosaurs at the Cretaceous-Paleogene boundary, we examine a potential co-extinction of dung beetles due to the loss of an important evolutionary resource, i.e., dinosaur dung. The biogeography of dung beetles is also examined to explore the previously proposed “out of Africa” hypothesis. Given the inferred age of Scarabaeinae as originating in the Lower Cretaceous, the major radiation of dung feeders prior to the Cenomanian, and the early divergence of both African and Gondwanan lineages, we hypothesise that that faunal exchange between Africa and Gondwanaland occurred during the earliest evolution of the Scarabaeinae. Therefore we propose that both Gondwanan vicariance and dispersal of African lineages is responsible for present day distribution of

  14. Mass extinctions and missing matter

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Stothers, R. B.

    1984-01-01

    The possible influence of 'invisible matter' on the solar system's comet halo, and therefore on quasi-periodic cometary bombardment of the earth and consequent mass extinctions, is briefly addressed. Invisible matter consisting of small or cold interstellar molecular clouds could significantly modulate the comet background flux, while invisible matter consisting of a large population of old, dead stars with a relatively small galactic concentration probably could not. It is also shown that the downward force exerted by the Galaxy will perturb the halo, but will not produce any periodicity.

  15. Deev Jahi Model of the Permian Triassic boundary mass extinction: a case for gas hydrates as the main cause of biological crisis on Earth

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Heydari, E.; Hassanzadeh, J.

    2003-12-01

    The smoking gun revealing the secrets of the end-Permian mass mortality is a unique 1-2-m-thick layer consisting of 5-20-cm-long crystals of calcite that occurs precisely at the Permian-Triassic boundary (PTB) in Iran, Armenia, Turkey, and China. This layer is interpreted as synsedimentary, abiotic, seafloor cement indicative of precipitation from a highly carbonate supersaturated seawater. Its δ13C composition ( δ13C=0‰ PDB) is 4‰ to 5‰ PDB lower than the typical Upper Permian values (4‰ to 5‰ PDB), suggesting the involvement of massive amounts of gas hydrate CH 4 ( δ13C=-60‰ PDB). The temporal coincidence of the cement layer with the PTB suggests that the process that promoted seafloor cementation was also responsible for the biological crisis. A cementation model is developed based on accumulation-dissociation cycle of gas hydrates which also explains the mass extinction at the PTB. The Upper Permian accumulation period of gas hydrates ended abruptly adjacent to the PTB and the dissociation event began releasing 3.2 to 4.7×10 18 g CH 4 into the ocean. Oxidation of CH 4 in the water column created a seawater that was charged with CO 2 (an oceanic acid bath) and had lower than normal O 2 content (but not anoxic). This oceanic acid bath first dissolved suspended fine-grained carbonate particles and small calcareous organisms, followed by extensive dissolution of platform carbonates raising Ca 2+ and HCO 3- concentrations of seawater. When the release of CH 4 declined, the acid-bath ocean became a soda ocean precipitating massive amount of seafloor cements observed globally at the PTB. The study suggests that prior to cement precipitation, the PTB ocean was charged with CO 2, warm, had low oxygen, high Ca 2+, and high HCO 3- concentrations. These conditions collectively created stressful conditions causing the marine mass mortality. The leakage of CH 4 to the atmosphere produced a super-hot climate resulting in the biological devastation on land. The

  16. The Araguainha impact crater at the Permo-Triassic boundary: implications for the carbon isotope excursion and the mass extinction.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lana, C.; Tohver, E.; Siret, D.; Cawood, P.; Sherlock, S.; Marangoni, Y. R.; Trindade, R. I.; Souza, R.

    2007-12-01

    The Araguainha crater is a complex crater with a diameter of 40 km exposed on the northern margin of the Parana Basin of central Brazil. This intracontinental basin, correlated to the Karoo Basin of southern Africa, was the locus of marine sedimentation over an area of 5 million km2 throughout the late Paleozoic. Carbonate sedimentation in the early Permian was marked by large accumulations of organic carbon in pyrite-bearing oil shales such as the Irati Fm, considered to be the world's second largest oil shale. Regional borehole data from outside the crater reveals a thickness of 40m for the oil shale horizon, which is partly to completely absent within the crater. Our structural and stratigraphic survey of the Araguainha crater reveal the post-impact rebound of the crater has removed ca. 2-2.5 km of sediments from the ca. 10 km diameter central uplift, with minimal subsequent erosion (<250m). Vaporization of the colliding body and the approximate shadowed target region are assumed, with energy models for impact craters suggesting a body of 2-3 km diameter. Ongoing radiogenic isotope dating of the impact melts and breccias is being undertaken by U-Pb SHRIMP analysis of shocked zircons and 40Ar/39Ar analysis of glassy vein material interpreted as pseudotachylite. Preliminary U-Pb age data yield an impact age of 252.7 +/- 3.8 Ma (2 sigma error), essentially synchronous with the Permo-Triassic boundary. The minimum amount of isotopically light carbon (-17 to -25 per mill PDB) available in the target rocks for release by the impact is estimated at 10 Gigatons, considering only the area of the central uplift. Possible sources of additional, isotopically-light carbon include the remainder of the 20-25 km transient crater, as well as methane clathrates released by impact-induced slope destabilization. We propose that the Araguainha impact could have been responsible for observed shifts shift in global carbon isotopes at the Permo-Triassic boundary. The possible effect of

  17. The end-Permian mass extinction: A complex, multicausal extinction

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Erwin, D. H.

    1994-01-01

    The end-Permian mass extinction was the most extensive in the history of life and remains one of the most complex. Understanding its causes is particularly important because it anchors the putative 26-m.y. pattern of periodic extinction. However, there is no good evidence for an impact and this extinction appears to be more complex than others, involving at least three phases. The first began with the onset of a marine regression during the Late Permian and resulting elimination of most marine basins, reduction in habitat area, and increased climatic instability; the first pulse of tetrapod extinctions occurred in South Africa at this time. The second phase involved increased regression in many areas (although apparently not in South China) and heightened climatic instability and environmental degradation. Release of gas hydrates, oxidation of marine carbon, and the eruption of the Siberian flood basalts occurred during this phase. The final phase of the extinction episode began with the earliest Triassic marine regression and destruction of nearshore continental habitats. Some evidence suggests oceanic anoxia may have developed during the final phase of the extinction, although it appears to have been insufficient to the sole cause of the extinction.

  18. TROPICAL MASS EXTINCTIONS AND THE SCIENTIFIC METHOD

    EPA Science Inventory

    Kangas (1992), Undiscovered species and the falsifiability of the tropical mass extinction hypotheses, ESA Bulletin 73:124-125, 1992, argues that there is a paradox concerning the mass extinctions projected from current rates of tropical deforestation. he parameters; for a given ...

  19. Mass extinctions vs. uniformitarianism in biological evolution

    SciTech Connect

    Bak, P.; Paczuski, M.

    1995-12-31

    It is usually believed that Darwin`s theory leads to a smooth gradual evolution, so that mass extinctions must be caused by external shocks. However, it has recently been argued that mass extinctions arise from the intrinsic dynamics of Darwinian evolution. Species become extinct when swept by intermittent avalanches propagating through the global ecology. These ideas are made concrete through studies of simple mathematical models of co-evolving species. The models exhibit self-organized criticality and describe some general features of the extinction pattern in the fossil record.

  20. Evolutionary Catastrophes: The Science of Mass Extinction

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hames, Willis

    The stories behind the greatest scientific controversies are more than entertaining. They provide windows into the evolution of scientific thought, scientific method, technological achievements and their research applications, and the influence of individuals and personalities on a community's acceptance of a theory Epic controversies surround the theories for Earth's mass extinction events, and none is more spectacular than the continuing polemic over the Cretaceous-Tertiary (K/T) mass extinctions and ultimate demise of the dinosaurs.In contrast to other great scientific debates, we tend to view the K/T event in the context of a crime scene, where the spectacularly diverse flora and fauna of a primordial Eden were unwittingly slain by one or more ruthless and efficient killers. A “foreign” suspect has been fingered; an intruder that killed suddenly and randomly has become the principal suspect. The main clues uncovered in the case include a global K/T iridium anomaly; shock-deformed minerals in K/T boundary sediments; the ˜6 5 m.y-old Deccan flood-basalt province, which covered an area roughly the size of France; and the ˜6 5 m.y-old Chicxulub impact crater in the Yucatan peninsula, which seems to be among the largest to have formed in the inner solar system over the past billion years.

  1. Survival without recovery after mass extinctions

    PubMed Central

    Jablonski, David

    2002-01-01

    Because many survivors of mass extinctions do not participate in postrecovery diversifications, and therefore fall into a pattern that can be termed “Dead Clade Walking” (DCW), the effects of mass extinctions extend beyond the losses observed during the event itself. Analyses at two taxonomic levels provide a first-order test of the prevalence of DCWs by using simple and very conservative operational criteria. For four of the Big Five mass extinctions of the Phanerozoic, the marine genera that survived the extinction suffered ≈10–20% attrition in the immediately following geologic stage that was significantly greater than the losses sustained in preextinction stages. The stages immediately following the three Paleozoic mass extinctions also account for 17% of all order-level losses in marine invertebrates over that interval, which is, again, significantly greater than that seen for the other stratigraphic stages (no orders are lost immediately after the end-Triassic or end-Cretaceous mass extinctions). DCWs are not evenly distributed among four regional molluscan time-series following the end-Cretaceous extinction, demonstrating the importance of spatial patterns in recovery dynamics. Although biotic interactions have been invoked to explain the differential postextinction success of clades, such hypotheses must be tested against alternatives that include stochastic processes in low-diversity lineages—which is evidently not a general explanation for the ordinal DCW patterns, because postextinction fates are not related to the size of extinction bottlenecks in Paleozoic orders—and ongoing physical environmental changes. PMID:12060760

  2. Magnetic reversals and mass extinctions

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Raup, D. M.

    1985-01-01

    The results of a study of reversals of the earth's magnetic field over the past 165 Myr are presented. A stationary periodicity of 30 Myr emerges which predicts pulses of increased reversal activity centered at 10, 40, 70, . . . Myr before the present. The correlation between the reversal intensity and biological extinctions is examined, and a nontrivial discrepancy is found between the magnetic and extinction periodicity.

  3. Biomarker Records Associated with Mass Extinction Events

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Whiteside, Jessica H.; Grice, Kliti

    2016-06-01

    The history of life on Earth is punctuated by a series of mass extinction episodes that vary widely in their magnitude, duration, and cause. Biomarkers are a powerful tool for the reconstruction of historical environmental conditions and can therefore provide insights into the cause and responses to ancient extinction events. In examining the five largest mass extinctions in the geological record, investigators have used biomarkers to elucidate key processes such as eutrophy, euxinia, ocean acidification, changes in hydrological balance, and changes in atmospheric CO2. By using these molecular fossils to understand how Earth and its ecosystems have responded to unusual environmental activity during these extinctions, models can be made to predict how Earth will respond to future changes in its climate.

  4. The Guadalupian-Lopingian boundary mudstones at Chaotian (SW China) are clastic rocks rather than acidic tuffs: Implication for a temporal coincidence between the end-Guadalupian mass extinction and the Emeishan volcanism

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    He, Bin; Xu, Yi-Gang; Zhong, Yu-Ting; Guan, Jun-Peng

    2010-09-01

    Previous studies on the temporal link between the end-Guadalupian mass extinction event and Emeishan flood volcanism were mainly based on geochronological and bio- and chemostratigraphic correlation techniques (Wignall et al., 2009). The absence of material-based hard evidence that directly links the extinction with the Emeishan volcanism remains a major obstacle regardless of the indication of coincidence in timing (Isozaki et al., 2007). The Emeishan basalts overlie Permian platform carbonates that may contain a record of the end-Guadalupian mass extinction and erosional product of this province. This paper presents mineralogy and geochemistry of mudstones from the Guadalupian-Lopingian Boundary (G-LB) at Chaotian, SW China. Results indicate that these G-LB mudstones are not air-fall acidic tuff as previously thought, but likely represent clastic rocks derived from erosional deposits of the Emeishan large igneous province (ELIP). Mudstones of the lower part (Group 1) have a geochemical affinity to the Emeishan felsic volcanic rocks, whereas mudstones of the upper part (Group 2) are compositionally akin to mafic components of the Emeishan traps. This chemostratigraphic sequence resembles the Xuanwei Formation which sits on the Emeishan basalts (He et al., 2007). These data therefore indicate that the lower part of the mudstones at the Chaotian G-LB section, the lowermost part of Xuanwei and Longtan Formations and the Emeishan felsic extrusives broadly constitute an isochron horizon throughout the ELIP and adjacent region, suggesting a short duration for the Emeishan volcanism. A temporal coincidence between Emeishan volcanism and the end-Guadalupian mass extinction are therefore inferred thus providing support for a cause-and-effect relationship.

  5. Large igneous provinces and mass extinctions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wignall, P. B.

    2001-03-01

    Comparing the timing of mass extinctions with the formation age of large igneous provinces reveals a close correspondence in five cases, but previous claims that all such provinces coincide with extinction events are unduly optimistic. The best correlation occurs for four consecutive mid-Phanerozoic examples, namely the end-Guadalupian extinction/Emeishan flood basalts, the end-Permian extinction/Siberian Traps, the end-Triassic extinction/central Atlantic volcanism and the early Toarcian extinction/Karoo Traps. Curiously, the onset of eruptions slightly post-dates the main phase of extinctions in these examples. Of the seven post-Karoo provinces, only the Deccan Traps coincide with a mass extinction, but in this case, the nature of the biotic crisis is best reconciled with the effects of a major bolide impact. Intraoceanic volcanism may also be implicated in a relatively minor end-Cenomanian extinction crisis, although once again the main phase of volcanism occurs after the crisis. The link between large igneous province formation and extinctions remains enigmatic; volume of extrusives and extinction intensity are unrelated and neither is there any apparent relationship with the rapidity of province formation. Violence of eruptions (proportions of pyroclastics) also appears unimportant. Six out of 11 provinces coincide with episodes of global warming and marine anoxia/dysoxia, a relationship that suggests that volcanic CO 2 emissions may have an important effect on global climate. Conversely, there is little, if any, geological evidence for cooling associated with continental flood basalt eruptions suggesting little long-term impact of SO 2 emissions. Large carbon isotope excursions are associated with some extinction events and intervals of flood basalt eruption but these are too great to be accounted for by the release of volcanic CO 2 alone. Thus, voluminous volcanism may in some circumstances trigger calamitous global environmental changes (runaway greenhouses

  6. Giant comets and mass extinctions of life

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Napier, W. M.

    2015-03-01

    I find evidence for clustering in age of well-dated impact craters over the last 500 Myr. At least nine impact episodes are identified, with durations whose upper limits are set by the dating accuracy of the craters. Their amplitudes and frequency are inconsistent with an origin in asteroid breakups or Oort cloud disturbances, but are consistent with the arrival and disintegration in near-Earth orbits of rare, giant comets, mainly in transit from the Centaur population into the Jupiter family and Encke regions. About 1 in 10 Centaurs in Chiron-like orbits enter Earth-crossing epochs, usually repeatedly, each such epoch being generally of a few thousand years' duration. On time-scales of geological interest, debris from their breakup may increase the mass of the near-Earth interplanetary environment by two or three orders of magnitude, yielding repeated episodes of bombardment and stratospheric dusting. I find a strong correlation between these bombardment episodes and major biostratigraphic and geological boundaries, and propose that episodes of extinction are most effectively driven by prolonged encounters with meteoroid streams during bombardment episodes. Possible mechanisms are discussed.

  7. Mass extinction caused by large bolide impacts

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Alvarez, Luis W.

    1987-01-01

    A history and development status assessment is presented for the hypothesis that the great extinction of living species 65 million years ago, at the boundary between the Tertiary and Cretaceous geological ages, was due to the collision of a meteoroid, asteroid, or comet with the earth. The initial, deeply suggestive indication of the extraterrestial origin of the extinction-initiating mechanism was the detection of an exceptionally high concentration of iridium at the stratigraphic position of the extinction. Detailed computer modeling of the atmospheric effect of such a bolide impact has shown that the earth would have first grown intensely cold during a period of darkness due to particulate debris clouds in the upper atmosphere, followed by an enormous increase in global temperatures as the debris cleared, created by the persistence of greenhouse-effect gases; this heating would have been especially lethal to numerous forms of life.

  8. A sudden end-Permian mass extinction (Invited)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Shen, S.

    2013-12-01

    The end-Permian mass extinction is the largest of the Phanerozoic. In the immediate aftermath the marine ecosystem was dominated by microbial and communities with disaster taxa. Plausible kill mechanism includes an extremely rapid, explosive release of gases such as carbon dioxide, methane and hydrogen sulfide. Siberian flood volcanism has been suggested as the most possible mechanism to trigger the massive release of greenhouse gases from volcanic eruptions and interaction of magmas with carbon from thick organic-rich deposits or rapid venting of coal-derived methane or massive combustion of coal. A sharp δ13C isotopic excursion, rapid disappearance of carbonate benthic communities and δ18O data from conodont apatite suggest rapid global warming. The end-Permian mass extinction occurred in less than 200,000 years. This extinction interval is constrained by two ash beds (Beds 25 and 28) at the Meishan section. However, the extinction patterns remain controversial largely due to the condensed nature of the Meishan sections. Geochemical signals and their interpretations are also contentious. Thus, the level of achievable stratigraphic resolution becomes crucial to determine the nature of the event and a detailed study of the extinction interval is essential to unravel the extinction pattern, chemostratigraphy, and the causes. However, the extinction interval at Meishan is only 26 cm thick and contains distinct gaps at the Permian-Triassic boundary (PTB) and possibly the base of Bed 25. Thus, it is impossible to resolve a detailed extinction pattern. Studying expanded sections is crucial to understand the detailed events before, during and after the main extinction. In this report, we show a highly-expanded Permian-Triassic boundary section in Guangxi Province, South China. The last 4.5 m between beds 22 and 28 of the Meishan sections is represented by a sequence of ~560 m at the section and the extinction interval between beds 24e and 28 at Meishan is represented

  9. Impact Crises, Mass Extinctions, and Galactic Dynamics: A Unified Theory

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Rampino, M.R.

    1997-01-01

    A general hypothesis linking mass extinctions of life with impacts of large asteroids and comets is based on astronomical data, impact dynamics, and geological information. The waiting times of large-body impacts on the Earth, derived from the flux of Earth-crossing asteroids and comets, and the estimated size of impacts capable of causing large-scale environmental disasters predict that impacts of objects (sup 3)5 km in diameter ((sup 3)10(exp 7) Mt TNT equivalent) could be sufficient to explain the record of about 25 extinction pulses in the last 540 m.y., with the five recorded major mass extinctions related to the impacts of the largest objects of (sup 3)10 km in diameter ( (sup 3)10(exp 8) Mt events). Smaller impacts (about 10(exp 6)-10(exp 7) Mt), with significant regional and even global environmental effects, could be responsible for the lesser boundaries in the geologic record. Tests of the "kill curve" relationship for impact-induced extinctions based on new data on extinction intensities and several well-dated large impact craters suggest that major mass extinctions require large impacts, and that a step in the kill curve may exist at impacts that produce craters of -100 km diameter, with smaller impacts capable of only relatively weak extinction pulses. Single impact craters < about 60 km in diameter should not be associated with global extinction pulses detectable in the Sepkoski database (although they may explain stage and zone boundaries marked by lesser faunal turnover), but multiple impacts in that size range may produce significant stepped extinction pulses. Statistical tests of the last occurrences of species at mass-extinction boundaries are generally consistent with predictions for abrupt or stepped extinctions, and several boundaries are known to show "catastrophic" signatures of environmental disasters and biomass crash, impoverished postextinction fauna and flora dominated by stress-tolerant and opportunistic species, and gradual ecological

  10. Calcium isotope constraints on the end-Permian mass extinction

    PubMed Central

    Payne, Jonathan L.; Turchyn, Alexandra V.; Paytan, Adina; DePaolo, Donald J.; Lehrmann, Daniel J.; Yu, Meiyi; Wei, Jiayong

    2010-01-01

    The end-Permian mass extinction horizon is marked by an abrupt shift in style of carbonate sedimentation and a negative excursion in the carbon isotope (δ13C) composition of carbonate minerals. Several extinction scenarios consistent with these observations have been put forward. Secular variation in the calcium isotope (δ44/40Ca) composition of marine sediments provides a tool for distinguishing among these possibilities and thereby constraining the causes of mass extinction. Here we report δ44/40Ca across the Permian-Triassic boundary from marine limestone in south China. The δ44/40Ca exhibits a transient negative excursion of ∼0.3‰ over a few hundred thousand years or less, which we interpret to reflect a change in the global δ44/40Ca composition of seawater. CO2-driven ocean acidification best explains the coincidence of the δ44/40Ca excursion with negative excursions in the δ13C of carbonates and organic matter and the preferential extinction of heavily calcified marine animals. Calcium isotope constraints on carbon cycle calculations suggest that the average δ13C of CO2 released was heavier than -28‰ and more likely near -15‰; these values indicate a source containing substantial amounts of mantle- or carbonate-derived carbon. Collectively, the results point toward Siberian Trap volcanism as the trigger of mass extinction. PMID:20421502

  11. The ``Shiva Hypothesis'': Impacts, Mass Extinctions, and the Galaxy

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rampino, Michael R.; Haggerty, Bruce M.

    1996-02-01

    The “Shiva Hypothesis”, in which recurrent, cyclical mass extinctions of life on Earth result from impacts of comets or asteroids, provides a possible unification of important processes in astrophysics, planetary geology, and the history of life. Collisions with Earth-crossing asteroids and comets ≥ a few km in diameter are calculated to produce widespread environmental disasters (dust clouds, wildfires), and occur with the proper frequency to account for the record of five major mass extinctions (from ≥ 108 Mt TNT impacts) and ~ 20 minor mass extinctions (from 107 108 Mt impacts) recorded in the past 540 million years. Recent studies of a number of extinctions show evidence of severe environmental disturbances and mass mortality consistent with the expected after-effects (dust clouds, wildfires) of catastrophic impacts. At least six cases of features generally considered diagnostic of large impacts (e.g., large impact craters, layers with high platinum-group elements, shock-related minerals, and/or microtektites) are known at or close to extinction-event boundaries. Six additional cases of elevated iridium levels at or near extinction boundaries are of the amplitude that might be expected from collision of relatively low-Ir objects such as comets. The records of cratering and mass extinction show a correlation, and might be explained by a combination of periodic and stochastic impactors. The mass extinction record shows evidence for a periodic component of about 26 to 30 Myr, and an ~ 30 Myr periodic component has been detected in impact craters by some workers, with recent pulses of impacts in the last 2 3 million years, and at ~ 35, 65, and 95 million years ago. A cyclical astronomical pacemaker for such pulses of impacts may involve the motions of the Earth through the Milky Way Galaxy. As the Solar System revolves around the galactic center, it also oscillates up and down through the plane of the disk-shaped galaxy with a half-cycle ~ 30±3 Myr. This

  12. Ocean acidification and the Permo-Triassic mass extinction.

    PubMed

    Clarkson, M O; Kasemann, S A; Wood, R A; Lenton, T M; Daines, S J; Richoz, S; Ohnemueller, F; Meixner, A; Poulton, S W; Tipper, E T

    2015-04-10

    Ocean acidification triggered by Siberian Trap volcanism was a possible kill mechanism for the Permo-Triassic Boundary mass extinction, but direct evidence for an acidification event is lacking. We present a high-resolution seawater pH record across this interval, using boron isotope data combined with a quantitative modeling approach. In the latest Permian, increased ocean alkalinity primed the Earth system with a low level of atmospheric CO2 and a high ocean buffering capacity. The first phase of extinction was coincident with a slow injection of carbon into the atmosphere, and ocean pH remained stable. During the second extinction pulse, however, a rapid and large injection of carbon caused an abrupt acidification event that drove the preferential loss of heavily calcified marine biota. PMID:25859043

  13. A new chronology for the end-Triassic mass extinction

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Deenen, M. H. L.; Ruhl, M.; Bonis, N. R.; Krijgsman, W.; Kuerschner, W. M.; Reitsma, M.; van Bergen, M. J.

    2010-03-01

    The transition from the Triassic to Jurassic Period, initiating the 'Age of the dinosaurs', approximately 200 Ma, is marked by a profound mass extinction with more than 50% genus loss in both marine and continental realms. This event closely coincides with a period of extensive volcanism in the Central Atlantic Magmatic Province (CAMP) associated with the initial break-up of Pangaea but a causal relationship is still debated. The Triassic-Jurassic (T-J) boundary is recently proposed in the marine record at the first occurrence datum of Jurassic ammonites, post-dating the extinction interval that concurs with two distinct perturbations in the carbon isotope record. The continental record shows a major palynological turnover together with a prominent change in tetrapod taxa, but a direct link to the marine events is still equivocal. Here we develop an accurate chronostratigraphic framework for the T-J boundary interval and establish detailed trans-Atlantic and marine-continental correlations by integrating astrochronology, paleomagnetism, basalt geochemistry and geobiology. We show that the oldest CAMP basalts are diachronous by 20 kyr across the Atlantic Ocean, and that these two volcanic pulses coincide with the end-Triassic extinction interval in the marine realm. Our results support the hypotheses of Phanerozoic mass extinctions resulting from emplacement of Large Igneous Provinces (LIPs) and provide crucial time constraints for numerical modelling of Triassic-Jurassic climate change and global carbon-cycle perturbations.

  14. A new chronology for the end-Triassic mass extinction

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Deenen, Martijn H. L.; Ruhl, Micha; Bonis, Nina R.; Krijgsman, Wout; Kuerschner, Wolfram M.; van Bergen, Manfred J.

    2010-05-01

    The link between the end-Triassic mass extinction (~200 Ma), one of the big five, and the emplacement of the Central Atlantic Magmatic Province (CAMP), one of the biggest flood basalt provinces, has been controversial. Here we show with a multi-disciplinary approach that the onset of volcanism in Morocco is synchronous with the extinction events documented in the terrestrial Newark basin (US) and in the marine realm (UK). Roughly 20 kyr later the main pulse of initial CAMP volcanism is synchronously recorded throughout the rest of the northern CAMP province. This event also seems to be short-lived (<100 kyr), probably occurring in distinct instantaneous pulses. Additional cyclostratigraphic control on the marine St. Audrie's Bay Tr-J boundary section (UK) indicates that both these two CAMP pulses occurred before the recently defined (first occurrence Jurassic ammonites) Triassic Jurassic boundary. This boundary, which can be considered as a first recovery event, occurs about 6 precession cycles (~120 kyr) after the end-Triassic mass extinction level.

  15. Surviving Mass Extinctions through Biomineralized DNA.

    PubMed

    Turon, Pau; Puiggalí, Jordi; Bertrán, Oscar; Alemán, Carlos

    2015-12-21

    Even in the worst of conditions, such as those which occurred during mass extinction events, life on Earth never totally stopped. Aggressive chemical and physical attacks able to sterilize or poison living organisms occurred repeatedly. Surprisingly, DNA was not degraded, denatured or modified to the point of losing the capability of transferring the genetic information to the next generations. After the events of mass extinction life was able to survive and thrive. DNA was passed on despite being an extremely fragile biomolecule. The potential implications of hydroxyapatite protection of DNA are discussed in this Concept article including how DNA acts as a template for hydroxyapatite (HAp) formation, how cell death can trigger biomineralization, and how DNA can be successfully released from HAp when the conditions are favorable for life. PMID:26542146

  16. Phylogenetic Clustering of Origination and Extinction across the Late Ordovician Mass Extinction.

    PubMed

    Krug, Andrew Z; Patzkowsky, Mark E

    2015-01-01

    Mass extinctions can have dramatic effects on the trajectory of life, but in some cases the effects can be relatively small even when extinction rates are high. For example, the Late Ordovician mass extinction is the second most severe in terms of the proportion of genera eliminated, yet is noted for the lack of ecological consequences and shifts in clade dominance. By comparison, the end-Cretaceous mass extinction was less severe but eliminated several major clades while some rare surviving clades diversified in the Paleogene. This disconnect may be better understood by incorporating the phylogenetic relatedness of taxa into studies of mass extinctions, as the factors driving extinction and recovery are thought to be phylogenetically conserved and should therefore promote both origination and extinction of closely related taxa. Here, we test whether there was phylogenetic selectivity in extinction and origination using brachiopod genera from the Middle Ordovician through the Devonian. Using an index of taxonomic clustering (RCL) as a proxy for phylogenetic clustering, we find that A) both extinctions and originations shift from taxonomically random or weakly clustered within families in the Ordovician to strongly clustered in the Silurian and Devonian, beginning with the recovery following the Late Ordovician mass extinction, and B) the Late Ordovician mass extinction was itself only weakly clustered. Both results stand in stark contrast to Cretaceous-Cenozoic bivalves, which showed significant levels of taxonomic clustering of extinctions in the Cretaceous, including strong clustering in the mass extinction, but taxonomically random extinctions in the Cenozoic. The contrasting patterns between the Late Ordovician and end-Cretaceous events suggest a complex relationship between the phylogenetic selectivity of mass extinctions and the long-term phylogenetic signal in origination and extinction patterns. PMID:26658946

  17. Phylogenetic Clustering of Origination and Extinction across the Late Ordovician Mass Extinction

    PubMed Central

    Krug, Andrew Z.; Patzkowsky, Mark E.

    2015-01-01

    Mass extinctions can have dramatic effects on the trajectory of life, but in some cases the effects can be relatively small even when extinction rates are high. For example, the Late Ordovician mass extinction is the second most severe in terms of the proportion of genera eliminated, yet is noted for the lack of ecological consequences and shifts in clade dominance. By comparison, the end-Cretaceous mass extinction was less severe but eliminated several major clades while some rare surviving clades diversified in the Paleogene. This disconnect may be better understood by incorporating the phylogenetic relatedness of taxa into studies of mass extinctions, as the factors driving extinction and recovery are thought to be phylogenetically conserved and should therefore promote both origination and extinction of closely related taxa. Here, we test whether there was phylogenetic selectivity in extinction and origination using brachiopod genera from the Middle Ordovician through the Devonian. Using an index of taxonomic clustering (RCL) as a proxy for phylogenetic clustering, we find that A) both extinctions and originations shift from taxonomically random or weakly clustered within families in the Ordovician to strongly clustered in the Silurian and Devonian, beginning with the recovery following the Late Ordovician mass extinction, and B) the Late Ordovician mass extinction was itself only weakly clustered. Both results stand in stark contrast to Cretaceous-Cenozoic bivalves, which showed significant levels of taxonomic clustering of extinctions in the Cretaceous, including strong clustering in the mass extinction, but taxonomically random extinctions in the Cenozoic. The contrasting patterns between the Late Ordovician and end-Cretaceous events suggest a complex relationship between the phylogenetic selectivity of mass extinctions and the long-term phylogenetic signal in origination and extinction patterns. PMID:26658946

  18. The biology of mass extinction: a palaeontological view

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Jablonski, D.; Raup, D. M. (Principal Investigator)

    1989-01-01

    Extinctions are not biologically random: certain taxa or functional/ecological groups are more extinction-prone than others. Analysis of molluscan survivorship patterns for the end-Cretaceous mass extinctions suggests that some traits that tend to confer extinction resistance during times of normal ('background') levels of extinction are ineffectual during mass extinction. For genera, high species-richness and possession of widespread individual species imparted extinction-resistance during background times but not during the mass extinction, when overall distribution of the genus was an important factor. Reanalysis of Hoffman's (1986) data (Neues Jb. Geol. Palaont. Abh. 172, 219) on European bivalves, and preliminary analysis of a new northern European data set, reveals a similar change in survivorship rules, as do data scattered among other taxa and extinction events. Thus taxa and adaptations can be lost not because they were poorly adapted by the standards of the background processes that constitute the bulk of geological time, but because they lacked--or were not linked to--the organismic, species-level or clade-level traits favoured under mass-extinction conditions. Mass extinctions can break the hegemony of species-rich, well-adapted clades and thereby permit radiation of taxa that had previously been minor faunal elements; no net increase in the adaptation of the biota need ensue. Although some large-scale evolutionary trends transcend mass extinctions, post extinction evolutionary pathways are often channelled in directions not predictable from evolutionary patters during background times.

  19. Flourishing ocean drives the end-Permian marine mass extinction.

    PubMed

    Schobben, Martin; Stebbins, Alan; Ghaderi, Abbas; Strauss, Harald; Korn, Dieter; Korte, Christoph

    2015-08-18

    The end-Permian mass extinction, the most severe biotic crisis in the Phanerozoic, was accompanied by climate change and expansion of oceanic anoxic zones. The partitioning of sulfur among different exogenic reservoirs by biological and physical processes was of importance for this biodiversity crisis, but the exact role of bioessential sulfur in the mass extinction is still unclear. Here we show that globally increased production of organic matter affected the seawater sulfate sulfur and oxygen isotope signature that has been recorded in carbonate rock spanning the Permian-Triassic boundary. A bifurcating temporal trend is observed for the strata spanning the marine mass extinction with carbonate-associated sulfate sulfur and oxygen isotope excursions toward decreased and increased values, respectively. By coupling these results to a box model, we show that increased marine productivity and successive enhanced microbial sulfate reduction is the most likely scenario to explain these temporal trends. The new data demonstrate that worldwide expansion of euxinic and anoxic zones are symptoms of increased biological carbon recycling in the marine realm initiated by global warming. The spatial distribution of sulfidic water column conditions in shallow seafloor environments is dictated by the severity and geographic patterns of nutrient fluxes and serves as an adequate model to explain the scale of the marine biodiversity crisis. Our results provide evidence that the major biodiversity crises in Earth's history do not necessarily implicate an ocean stripped of (most) life but rather the demise of certain eukaryotic organisms, leading to a decline in species richness. PMID:26240323

  20. Deccan Volcanism likely cause for K-T Mass Extinction

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Keller, G.; Reddy, A. N.; Jaiprakash, B. C.; Adatte, T.; Gertsch, B.; Bajpai, S.; Garg, R.; Prasad, V.; Upadhyay, H.; Bhowmick, P. K.

    2009-04-01

    Recent advances in Deccan volcanic studies suggest that the main phase of eruptions occurred rapidly over tens of thousands of years near the end of the Maastrichtian (Chenet et al. 2007, 2008) and may have caused the mass extinction as initially discovered in intertrappean sediments exposed in quarries of Rajahmundry, SE India. In these shallow marine sediments early Danian zone P1a planktic foraminifera were deposited in C29r immediately above the last mega eruption of the main volcanic phase (Keller et al. (2008). At Jhilmili in central India (Madhya Pradesh), early Danian zone P1a assemblages were also discovered in intertrappean sediments, which mark a marine incursion in a predominantly terrestrial sequence which signals a major seaway existed at K-T time. In Meghalaya, NE India, about 600 km from the Deccan volcanic province the K-T boundary and mass extinction identified from planktic foraminifera, calcareous nannofossils and palynomorphs is marked by very large Ir (11.8 ppb), Ru, Rh and Pd anomalies. High biotic stress conditions precede the KTB. Critical new data linking Deccan volcanism to the K-T mass extinction comes also from investigations of subsurface cores drilled in the Krishna-Godavari Basin, eastern India, by the Oil and Natural Gas Corporation of India (ONGC). In eight subsurface cores examined, a total of 4 volcanic megaflows have been identified as occurring in very rapid succession near the end of the Maastrichtian. These megaflows span a 1000 km across India and out to the Gulf of Bengal. They are the longest lava flows known in Earth's history. Preliminary evaluation of the biotic effects of these megaflows on planktic foraminifera indicate that after the first megaflow up to 50% of the species disappeared and with each new megaflow more species died out culminating in near total mass extinction coincident with the last megaflow by K-T boundary time. After the mass extinction, no megaflows reached the Krishna-Godavari Basin for about 250

  1. A Cretaceous-Tertiary mass extinction? Were most of Earth's species killed off?

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Briggs, J. C.

    1991-01-01

    For the past decade, the scientific and popular press have carried frequent articles about a catastrophic mass extinction that supposedly destroyed the majority of the earth's species, including the dinosaurs, approximately 65 million years ago. Since 1980, more than 2000 papers and books have dealt with some aspect of a mass extinction at the Cretaceous-Tertiary (K/T) boundary. One authoritative estimate of the severity of the extinctions is that 60-80% of all the living species became extinct at this boundary (Raup 1988). There appears to be a general acceptance of the fact that such a great catastrophe did occur. Most of the argument among scientists now is devoted to the determination of the cause. In this article, I argue that the species changes at the K/T boundary were neither sudden nor catastrophic. They were most likely caused by a regression of sea level that led to a decrease in primary production.

  2. Press/Pulse: Explaining selective terrestrial extinctions at the Cretaceous/Palaeogene boundary

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Arens, Nan Crystal

    2010-05-01

    Single-cause mass extinction scenarios require extreme conditions to generate sufficiently strong kill mechanisms. Such dire effects are commonly at odds with the taxonomic selectivity that characterizes most extinction events. In response, some researchers have proposed that the interaction of a variety of factors typify episodes of elevated extinction. Previous work (Arens & West 2008 Paleobiology 34:456-471) has shown that a combination of press and pulse disturbances increases the probability of elevated extinction. The press/pulse contrast is borrowed from community ecology, where researchers have long recognized that the ecological response to long-term stress differs from that of an instantaneous catastrophe. Scaled to the macroevolutionary level, press disturbances alter community composition by placing multigenerational stress on populations. Press disturbances do not necessarily cause mortality, but reduce population size by a variety of mechanisms such as curtailed reproduction. Pulse disturbances are sudden catastrophic events that cause extensive mortality. Either press or pulse disturbances of sufficient magnitude can cause extinction, however elevated extinction occurs more commonly during the coincidence of lower-magnitude press and pulse events. The Cretaceous/Palaeogene (K/P) extinction is one of the best examples of a press/pulse extinction. Deccan Trap volcanism, which straddled the K/P boundary, altered atmospheric composition and climate. This episodic volcanism likely contributed to the climate instability observed in terrestrial ecosystems and exerted press stress. Pulse disturbance was produced by bolide impact, which punctuated the end of the Cretaceous. The press/pulse mechanism also more effectively explains selectivity in terrestrial vertebrate and plant extinctions at the K/P boundary than do single-mechanisms scenarios. For example, why do environmentally sensitive vertebrates such as amphibians experience no extinction? And why do

  3. Science observed: The mass-extinction debates

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Glen, W.

    1994-01-01

    The upheaval triggered in 1980 by the Alvarez-Berkeley group impact hypothesis transformed the literature of mass extinctions from an unfocused, sporadic collection of papers that virtually ignored extraterrestrial causes and treated endogenous ones only sparingly better to an integrated, diverse body of literature. Research programs organized seemingly overnight spawned collaborative teams whose members, often from distant, isolated disciplines, redirected their careers in order to address the captivating, high-stakes issues. The initial, generally skeptical, cool reception of the impact hypothesis might have been predicted for any of a number of reasons: such an instantaneous catastrophe contravened earth science's reigning philosophy of uniformitarianism; it was formulated from a form of evidence - siderophile element anomalies - alien to the community charged with its appraisal; it advanced a causal mechanism that was improbable in terms of canonical knowledge; and it was proffered mainly by specialists alien to earth and biological science, especially paleobiology. Early on it became clear that irrespective of which causal hypothesis was chosen, the chosen one would be the strongest predictor of how the chooser would select and apply standards in assessing evidence bearing on all such hypothesis. Less strong correlation also appeared between disciplinary speciality and the assessment of evidence. Such correlations varied with the level of specialization; the most robust correlations appeared in the broadest areas of science practice. The gestalt (mindset) seemingly engendered by the embrace of an extinction hypothesis overrode, or was stronger than, the intellectual predispositions attributable to disciplinary specialty.

  4. Science observed: The mass-extinction debates

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Glen, W.

    The upheaval triggered in 1980 by the Alvarez-Berkeley group impact hypothesis transformed the literature of mass extinctions from an unfocused, sporadic collection of papers that virtually ignored extraterrestrial causes and treated endogenous ones only sparingly better to an integrated, diverse body of literature. Research programs organized seemingly overnight spawned collaborative teams whose members, often from distant, isolated disciplines, redirected their careers in order to address the captivating, high-stakes issues. The initial, generally skeptical, cool reception of the impact hypothesis might have been predicted for any of a number of reasons: such an instantaneous catastrophe contravened earth science's reigning philosophy of uniformitarianism; it was formulated from a form of evidence - siderophile element anomalies - alien to the community charged with its appraisal; it advanced a causal mechanism that was improbable in terms of canonical knowledge; and it was proffered mainly by specialists alien to earth and biological science, especially paleobiology. Early on it became clear that irrespective of which causal hypothesis was chosen, the chosen one would be the strongest predictor of how the chooser would select and apply standards in assessing evidence bearing on all such hypothesis. Less strong correlation also appeared between disciplinary speciality and the assessment of evidence. Such correlations varied with the level of specialization; the most robust correlations appeared in the broadest areas of science practice. The gestalt (mindset) seemingly engendered by the embrace of an extinction hypothesis overrode, or was stronger than, the intellectual predispositions attributable to disciplinary specialty.

  5. CO2 and the end-Triassic mass extinction.

    PubMed

    Beerling, David

    2002-01-24

    The end of the Triassic period was marked by one of the largest and most enigmatic mass-extinction events in Earth's history and, with few reliable marine geochemical records, terrestrial sediments offer an important means of deciphering environmental changes at this time. Tanner et al. describe an isotopic study of Mesozoic fossil soils which suggests that the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide (pCO2) across the Triassic-Jurassic boundary was relatively constant (within 250 p.p.m.v.), but this is inconsistent with high-resolution evidence from the stomatal characters of fossil leaves. Here I show that the temporal resolution of the fossil-soil samples may have been inadequate for detecting a transient rise in pCO2. I also show that the fossil-soil data are consistent with a large increase in pCO2 across the Triassic-Jurassic boundary when variations in the stable carbon isotope (denoted as delta13C) in terrestrial plant leaves are taken into account. These factors suggest that the linkage between pCO2, global warming and the end-Triassic mass extinction remains intact. PMID:11807542

  6. Origination, diversity, and extinction metrics essential for analysis of mass biotic crisis events: An example from cretaceous ammonoidea

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Collom, Christopher J.

    1988-01-01

    Traditional mass extinction research has predominently concentrated on statistically demonstrating that mass extinction intervals are significantly above background levels of familial and generic extinction in terms of extinction percentage, extinction rate, and per-taxon extinction rate; mass extinction intervals occur on a set periodicity throughout geologic time, which is estimated to be some 30 MYR in duration. The published literature has given little emphasis to equally important considerations and metrics such as origination rate, standing diversity, and rate of generation of new taxa DURING mass extinction intervals. The extent to which a mass extinction affects the regional or global biota, must ultimately be gauged by taking into consideration both the number of taxa which become extinct at or near the event (stage) boundary, and the number of taxa which are either not affected at all by the extinction or actually evolved during or shortly before/after the extinction interval. These effects can be seen in Cretaceous Ammonoidea (at the genus level), and their combined usage allow better insight into paleobiological dynamics and responses to mass extinction and its affect on this dominant Molluscan organism.

  7. Extinction Risk of Phytoplankton Species to Potential Killing Mechanisms at the Cretaceous-Paleogene Boundary

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bralower, T. J.; Schueth, J.; Jiang, S.

    2013-05-01

    The impact at Chicxulub caused catastrophic changes in marine habitats including extended darkness, ocean acidification and eutrophication. These changes were devastating to some groups of phytoplankton at the base of the marine food chain while others escaped virtually unscathed. For example, diatoms had ~85% survival across the boundary and dinoflagellates actually increased in diversity. These non-calcareous plankton most likely survived due to their adaptation to high-stress environments and their ability to form spores and resting cysts. The calcareous nannoplankton, however, were decimated with approximately 85% of genera and 93% of species going extinct. Nannoplankton generally lack the ability to encyst and thus, as a group, would have been susceptible to darkness, ocean acidification and eutrophication. However, we still do not fully understand why certain nannofossil taxa survived while others went extinct. Extinction risk, the projected susceptibility of a taxon to extinction based on its ecology and ability to adapt, is a concept that is widely applied to extant species and higher order fossil groups, but not to phytoplankton. This concept is a useful for probing the selectivity of ancient species to mass extinction. Determining the extinction risk of latest Maastrichtian nannoplankton species would be a step towards understanding the selection of survivors. The deep-sea record contains a remarkable archive of nannoplankton extinction and recovery across the Cretaceous-Paleogene boundary. The recovery was geologically extended, enabling detailed comparisons between the ocean basins. A large, global database of assemblages had led to the discovery that the Northern Hemisphere oceans suffered higher nannoplankton extinction rates than the Southern Hemisphere with an ecological "crisis" that lasted for approximately 350 thousand years after the impact. In addition, incumbency played a major role in the origination of new species. Since extinction almost

  8. Severe extinction and rapid recovery of mammals across the Cretaceous-Palaeogene boundary, and the effects of rarity on patterns of extinction and recovery.

    PubMed

    Longrich, N R; Scriberas, J; Wills, M A

    2016-08-01

    The end-Cretaceous mass extinction ranks among the most severe extinctions of all time; however, patterns of extinction and recovery remain incompletely understood. In particular, it is unclear how severe the extinction was, how rapid the recovery was and how sampling biases might affect our understanding of these processes. To better understand terrestrial extinction and recovery and how sampling influences these patterns, we collected data on the occurrence and abundance of fossil mammals to examine mammalian diversity across the K-Pg boundary in North America. Our data show that the extinction was more severe and the recovery more rapid than previously thought. Extinction rates are markedly higher than previously estimated: of 59 species, four survived (93% species extinction, 86% of genera). Survival is correlated with geographic range size and abundance, with widespread, common species tending to survive. This creates a sampling artefact in which rare species are both more vulnerable to extinction and less likely to be recovered, such that the fossil record is inherently biased towards the survivors. The recovery was remarkably rapid. Within 300 000 years, local diversity recovered and regional diversity rose to twice Cretaceous levels, driven by increased endemicity; morphological disparity increased above levels observed in the Cretaceous. The speed of the recovery tends to be obscured by sampling effects; faunas show increased endemicity, such that a rapid, regional increase in diversity and disparity is not seen in geographically restricted studies. Sampling biases that operate against rare taxa appear to obscure the severity of extinction and the pace of recovery across the K-Pg boundary, and similar biases may operate during other extinction events. PMID:27167897

  9. The effect of geographic range on extinction risk during background and mass extinction

    PubMed Central

    Payne, Jonathan L.; Finnegan, Seth

    2007-01-01

    Wide geographic range is generally thought to buffer taxa against extinction, but the strength of this effect has not been investigated for the great majority of the fossil record. Although the majority of genus extinctions have occurred between major mass extinctions, little is known about extinction selectivity regimes during these “background” intervals. Consequently, the question of whether selectivity regimes differ between background and mass extinctions is largely unresolved. Using logistic regression, we evaluated the selectivity of genus survivorship with respect to geographic range by using a global database of fossil benthic marine invertebrates spanning the Cambrian through the Neogene periods, an interval of ≈500 My. Our results show that wide geographic range has been significantly and positively associated with survivorship for the great majority of Phanerozoic time. Moreover, the significant association between geographic range and survivorship remains after controlling for differences in species richness and abundance among genera. However, mass extinctions and several second-order extinction events exhibit less geographic range selectivity than predicted by range alone. Widespread environmental disturbance can explain the reduced association between geographic range and extinction risk by simultaneously affecting genera with similar ecological and physiological characteristics on global scales. Although factors other than geographic range have certainly affected extinction risk during many intervals, geographic range is likely the most consistently significant predictor of extinction risk in the marine fossil record. PMID:17563357

  10. Heterogeneous volcanism across the Permian-Triassic Boundary in South China and implications for the Latest Permian Mass Extinction: New evidence from volcanic ash layers in the Lower Yangtze Region

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Liao, Zhiwei; Hu, Wenxuan; Cao, Jian; Wang, Xiaolin; Yao, Suping; Wu, Haiguang; Wan, Ye

    2016-09-01

    Volcanism has been suggested to have occurred widely in South China across the Permian-Triassic boundary (PTB); this has important implications for understanding the cause of the Latest Permian Mass Extinction (LMPE). However, few volcanic deposits have been reported in the Lower Yangtze Region and the extent of volcanism is uncertain. Herein we report new discoveries of intensive volcanism in this region for the first time, as evidenced by multiple (n > 20) and thick (3-5 cm) claystones (volcanic ash layers, K-bentonite) found in three deep-water outcrops in Xuancheng city, southern Anhui Province. Detailed petrographic and geochemical analyses of the ash layers were conducted to understand their origin and implications for the cause of the LPME, including X-ray diffraction, scanning electronic microscopy, energy dispersive spectroscopy, and whole-rock geochemistry. The petrological and mineralogical results show that the claystones contain clastic minerals indicative of a volcanic origin, such as zircon, analcites, pentagonal dodecahedral pyrite, and micro-spherules. The whole-rock geochemical data of the claystones suggest that the source rock of the ash layers was intermediate-acidic rhyodacite. The claystones are different from previously known claystones in the Middle-Upper Yangtze regions, indicating the occurrence of chemically heterogeneous volcanism in South China at the PTB.

  11. Lognormals for SETI, Evolution and Mass Extinctions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Maccone, Claudio

    2014-12-01

    In a series of recent papers (Refs. [1-5,7,8]) and in a book (Ref. [6]), this author suggested a new mathematical theory capable of merging Darwinian Evolution and SETI into a unified statistical framework. In this new vision, Darwinian Evolution, as it unfolded on Earth over the last 3.5 billion years, is defined as just one particular realization of a certain lognormal stochastic process in the number of living species on Earth, whose mean value increased in time exponentially. SETI also may be brought into this vision since the number of communicating civilizations in the Galaxy is given by a lognormal distribution (Statistical Drake Equation). Now, in this paper we further elaborate on all that particularly with regard to two important topics: The introduction of the general lognormal stochastic process L(t) whose mean value may be an arbitrary continuous function of the time, m(t), rather than just the exponential mGBM (t) =N0eμt typical of the Geometric Brownian Motion (GBM). This is a considerable generalization of the GBM-based theory used in Refs. [1-8]. The particular application of the general stochastic process L(t) to the understanding of Mass Extinctions like the K-Pg one that marked the dinosaurs' end 65 million years ago. We first model this Mass Extinction as a decreasing Geometric Brownian Motion (GBM) extending from the asteroid's impact time all through the ensuing 'nuclear winter'. However, this model has a flaw: the 'final value' of the GBM cannot have a horizontal tangent, as requested to enable the recovery of life again after this 'final extinction value'. That flaw, however, is removed if the rapidly decreasing mean value function of L(t) is the left branch of a parabola extending from the asteroid's impact time all through the ensuing 'nuclear winter' and up to the time when the number of living species on Earth started growing up again, as we show mathematically in Section 3. In conclusion, we have uncovered an important generalization

  12. The global vegetation pattern across the Cretaceous-Paleogene mass extinction interval: A template for other extinction events

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Vajda, Vivi; Bercovici, Antoine

    2014-11-01

    Changes in pollen and spore assemblages across the Cretaceous-Paleogene (K-Pg) boundary elucidate the vegetation response to a global environmental crisis triggered by an asteroid impact in Mexico 66 Ma. The Cretaceous-Paleogene boundary clay, associated with the Chicxulub asteroid impact event, constitutes a unique, global marker bed enabling comparison of the world-wide palynological signal spanning the mass extinction event. The data from both hemispheres are consistent, revealing diverse latest Cretaceous assemblages of pollen and spores that were affected by a major diversity loss as a consequence of the K-Pg event. Here we combine new results with past studies to provide an integrated global perspective of the terrestrial vegetation record across the K-Pg boundary. We further apply the K-Pg event as a template to asses the causal mechanism behind other major events in Earths history. The end-Permian, end-Triassic, and the K-Pg mass-extinctions were responses to different causal processes that resulted in essentially similar succession of decline and recovery phases, although expressed at different temporal scales. The events share a characteristic pattern of a bloom of opportunistic "crisis" tax followed by a pulse in pioneer communities, and finally a recovery in diversity including evolution of new taxa. Based on their similar extinction and recovery patterns and the fact that the Last and First Appearance Datums associated with the extinctions are separated in time, we recommend using the K-Pg event as a model and to use relative abundance data for the stratigraphic definition of mass-extinction events and the placement of associated chronostratigraphic boundaries.

  13. Resilience of Pacific pelagic fish across the Cretaceous/Palaeogene mass extinction

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sibert, Elizabeth C.; Hull, Pincelli M.; Norris, Richard D.

    2014-09-01

    Open-ocean ecosystems experienced profound disruptions to biodiversity and ecological structure during the Cretaceous/Palaeogene mass extinction about 66 million years ago. It has been suggested that during this mass extinction, a collapse of phytoplankton production rippled up the food chain, causing the wholesale loss of consumers and top predators. Pelagic fish represent a key trophic link between primary producers and top predators, and changes in their abundance provide a means to examine trophic relationships during extinctions. Here we analyse accumulation rates of microscopic fish teeth and shark dermal scales (ichthyoliths) in sediments from the Pacific Ocean and Tethys Sea across the Cretaceous/Palaeogene extinction to reconstruct fish abundance. We find geographic differences in post-disaster ecosystems. In the Tethys Sea, fish abundance fell abruptly at the Cretaceous/Palaeogene boundary and remained depressed for at least 3 million years. In contrast, fish abundance in the Pacific Ocean remained at or above pre-boundary levels for at least four million years following the mass extinction, despite marked extinctions in primary producers and other zooplankton consumers in this region. We suggest that the mass extinction did not produce a uniformly dead ocean or microbially dominated system. Instead, primary production, at least regionally, supported ecosystems with mid-trophic-level abundances similar to or above those of the Late Cretaceous.

  14. Flourishing ocean drives the end-Permian marine mass extinction

    PubMed Central

    Schobben, Martin; Stebbins, Alan; Ghaderi, Abbas; Strauss, Harald; Korn, Dieter; Korte, Christoph

    2015-01-01

    The end-Permian mass extinction, the most severe biotic crisis in the Phanerozoic, was accompanied by climate change and expansion of oceanic anoxic zones. The partitioning of sulfur among different exogenic reservoirs by biological and physical processes was of importance for this biodiversity crisis, but the exact role of bioessential sulfur in the mass extinction is still unclear. Here we show that globally increased production of organic matter affected the seawater sulfate sulfur and oxygen isotope signature that has been recorded in carbonate rock spanning the Permian−Triassic boundary. A bifurcating temporal trend is observed for the strata spanning the marine mass extinction with carbonate-associated sulfate sulfur and oxygen isotope excursions toward decreased and increased values, respectively. By coupling these results to a box model, we show that increased marine productivity and successive enhanced microbial sulfate reduction is the most likely scenario to explain these temporal trends. The new data demonstrate that worldwide expansion of euxinic and anoxic zones are symptoms of increased biological carbon recycling in the marine realm initiated by global warming. The spatial distribution of sulfidic water column conditions in shallow seafloor environments is dictated by the severity and geographic patterns of nutrient fluxes and serves as an adequate model to explain the scale of the marine biodiversity crisis. Our results provide evidence that the major biodiversity crises in Earth’s history do not necessarily implicate an ocean stripped of (most) life but rather the demise of certain eukaryotic organisms, leading to a decline in species richness. PMID:26240323

  15. Wildfires and animal extinctions at the Cretaceous/Tertiary boundary

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Adair, Robert K.

    2010-06-01

    Persuasive models of the ejection of material at high velocities from the Chicxulub asteroid impact marking the Cretaceous/Tertiary boundary have led to the conclusion that upon return, that material, heated in passage through the upper atmosphere, generated a high level of infrared energy density over the Earth's surface. That radiant energy has been considered to be a direct source of universal wildfires, which were presumed to be a major cause of plant and animal species extinctions. The extinction of many animal species, especially the dinosaurs, has also been attributed to the immediate lethal effects of the radiation. I find that the absorption of the radiation by the atmosphere, by cloud formations, and by ejecta drifting in the lower atmosphere reduced the radiation at the surface to a level that cannot be expected to have generated universal fires. Although the reduced radiation will have likely caused severe injuries to many animals, such insults alone seem unlikely to have generated the overall species extinctions that have been deduced.

  16. Could a nearby supernova explosion have caused a mass extinction?

    PubMed Central

    Ellis, J; Schramm, D N

    1995-01-01

    We examine the possibility that a nearby supernova explosion could have caused one or more of the mass extinctions identified by paleontologists. We discuss the possible rate of such events in the light of the recent suggested identification of Geminga as a supernova remnant less than 100 parsec (pc) away and the discovery of a millisecond pulsar about 150 pc away and observations of SN 1987A. The fluxes of gamma-radiation and charged cosmic rays on the Earth are estimated, and their effects on the Earth's ozone layer are discussed. A supernova explosion of the order of 10 pc away could be expected as often as every few hundred million years and could destroy the ozone layer for hundreds of years, letting in potentially lethal solar ultraviolet radiation. In addition to effects on land ecology, this could entail mass destruction of plankton and reef communities, with disastrous consequences for marine life as well. A supernova extinction should be distinguishable from a meteorite impact such as the one that presumably killed the dinosaurs at the "KT boundary." The recent argument that the KT event was exceedingly large and thus quite rare supports the need for other catastrophic events. PMID:11607506

  17. Could a Nearby Supernova Explosion have Caused a Mass Extinction?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ellis, John; Schramm, David N.

    1995-01-01

    We examine the possibility that a nearby supernova explosion could have caused one or more of the mass extinctions identified by paleontologists. We discuss the possible rate of such events in the light of the recent suggested identification of Geminga as a supernova remnant less than 100 parsec (pc) away and the discovery of a millisecond pulsar about 150 pc away and observations of SN 1987A. The fluxes of γ-radiation and charged cosmic rays on the Earth are estimated, and their effects on the Earth's ozone layer are discussed. A supernova explosion of the order of 10 pc away could be expected as often as every few hundred million years and could destroy the ozone layer for hundreds of years, letting in potentially lethal solar ultraviolet radiation. In addition to effects on land ecology, this could entail mass destruction of plankton and reef communities, with disastrous consequences for marine life as well. A supernova extinction should be distinguishable from a meteorite impact such as the one that presumably killed the dinosaurs at the "KT boundary." The recent argument that the KT event was exceedingly large and thus quite rare supports the need for other catastrophic events.

  18. Could a nearby supernova explosion have caused a mass extinction?

    SciTech Connect

    Ellis, J.; Schramm, D.N. |

    1995-01-03

    We examine the possibility that a nearby supernova explosion could have caused one or more of the mass extinctions identified by paleontologists. We discuss the possible rate of such events in the light of the recent suggested identification of Geminga as a supernova remnant less than 100 parsec (pc) away and the discovery of a millisecond pulsar about 150 pc away and observations of SN 1987A. The fluxes of {gamma}-radiation and charged cosmic rays on the Earth are estimated, and their effects on the Earth`s ozone layer are discussed. A supernova explosion of the order of 10 pc away could be expected as often as every few hundred million years and could destroy the ozone layer for hundreds of years, letting in potentially lethal solar ultraviolet radiation. In addition to effects on land ecology, this could entail mass destruction of plankton and reef communities, with disastrous consequences for marine life as well. A supernova extinction should be distinguishable from a meteorite impact such as the one that presumably killed the dinosaurs at the {open_quotes}KT boundary.{close_quotes} The recent argument that the KT event was exceedingly large and thus quite rare supports the need for other catastrophic events. 24 refs.

  19. Preventing the Next Mass Extinction: Ethical Obligations

    SciTech Connect

    Tonn, Bruce Edward

    2009-11-01

    This paper presents a framework to judge whether we are meeting our ethical responsibilities for preventing massive species extinction. The framework is a generalization from another framework, one that addresses ethical responsibilities related to preventing premature, involuntary human deaths from environmental risks and the extinction of the human race. The resulting ethical risk standards are quite stringent and it is argued that we are nowhere close to meeting any standards, except in the cases of human extinction and extinction of all life on earth, which are met by chance, not by design. Much work is needed to build the 'technology' needed to estimate probabilities associated with massive losses of human life and species extinction over the suggested 1000 year planning horizon.

  20. Mass extinction in poorly known taxa

    PubMed Central

    Régnier, Claire; Achaz, Guillaume; Lambert, Amaury; Cowie, Robert H.; Bouchet, Philippe; Fontaine, Benoît

    2015-01-01

    Since the 1980s, many have suggested we are in the midst of a massive extinction crisis, yet only 799 (0.04%) of the 1.9 million known recent species are recorded as extinct, questioning the reality of the crisis. This low figure is due to the fact that the status of very few invertebrates, which represent the bulk of biodiversity, have been evaluated. Here we show, based on extrapolation from a random sample of land snail species via two independent approaches, that we may already have lost 7% (130,000 extinctions) of the species on Earth. However, this loss is masked by the emphasis on terrestrial vertebrates, the target of most conservation actions. Projections of species extinction rates are controversial because invertebrates are essentially excluded from these scenarios. Invertebrates can and must be assessed if we are to obtain a more realistic picture of the sixth extinction crisis. PMID:26056308

  1. Flood basalt eruptions, comet showers, and mass extinction events

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Rampino, Michael R.; Stothers, Richard B.

    1988-01-01

    A chronology of initiation dates of the major continental flood basalt episodes has been established from compilation of published K-Ar and Ar-Ar ages of basaltic flows and related basic intrusions. The dating is therefore independent of the biostratigraphic and paleomagnetic time scales, and the estimated errors of the inititation dates are approximately + or - 4 pct. There are 11 distinct episodes of continental flood basalts known during the past 250 Myr. The data show that flood basalt episodes are generally relatively brief geologic events, with intermittent eruptions during peak output periods lasting ony 2 to 3 Myr or less. Statistical analyses suggest that these episodes may have occurred quasi-periodically with a mean cycle time of 32 + or - 1 Myr. The initiation dates of the flood basalts are close to the estimated dates of marine mass extinctions and impact-crater clusters. Although a purely internal forcing might be argued for the flood basalt volcanism, quasi-periodic comet impacts may be the trigger for both the flood basalts and the extinctions. Impact cratering models suggest that large-body impactors lead to deep initial cratering, and therefore may cause mantle disturbances and initiate mantle plume activity. The flood basalt episodes commonly mark the initiation or jump of a mantle hotspot, and are often followed by continental rifting and separation. Evidence from dynamical studies of impacts, occurrences of craters and hotspots, and the geochemistry of boundary layers is synthesized to provide a possible model of impact-generated volcanism. Flood basalt eruptions may themselves have severe effects on climate, and possibly on life. Impacts might, as a result, have led to mass extinctions through direct atmospheric disturbances, and/or indirectly through prolonged flood basalt volcanism.

  2. Mass extinctions and cosmic collisions - A lunar test

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Horz, F.

    1985-01-01

    The possibility has been considered that some or all major mass extinctions in the geologic record of earth are caused by the collision of massive, cosmic objects. Thus, it has been proposed that the unusual concentration of siderophile elements in strata at which the boundary between the Cretaceous (K) and Tertiary (T) geologic time periods has been placed must represent the remnants of a gigantic meteorite. However, a large 65-m.y.-old crater which could have been the result of the impact of this meteorite is not presently known on earth. One approach to evaluate the merits of the collisional hypothesis considered is based on the study of the probability of collision between a cosmic object of a suitable size and the earth. As moon and earth were subject to the same bombardment history and the preservation of craters on the moon is much better than on earth, a consideration of the lunar cratering record may provide crucial information.

  3. Meteoritic trace element toxification and the terminal Mesozoic mass extinction

    SciTech Connect

    Dickson, S.M.; Erickson, D.J. III

    1985-01-01

    Calculations of trace element fluxes to the earth associated with 5 and 10 kilometer diameter Cl chondrites and iron meteorites are presented. The data indicate that the masses of certain trace elements contained in the bolide, such as Fe, Co, Ni, Cr, Pb, and Cu, are as large as or larger than the world ocean burden. The authors believe that this pulse of trace elements was of sufficient magnitude to perturb the biogeochemical cycles operative 65 million years ago, a probably time of meteorite impact. Geochemical anomalies in Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary sediments suggest that elevated concentrations of trace elements may have persisted for thousands of years in the ocean. Through direct exposure and bioaccumulation, many trophic levels of the global food chain, including that of the dinosaurs, would have been adversely affected by these meteoritic trace elements. The trace element toxification hypothesis may account for the selective extinction of both marine and terrestrial species in the enigmatic terminal Mesozoic event.

  4. Mass extinctions and cosmic collisions - A lunar test

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Horz, F.

    The possibility has been considered that some or all major mass extinctions in the geologic record of earth are caused by the collision of massive, cosmic objects. Thus, it has been proposed that the unusual concentration of siderophile elements in strata at which the boundary between the Cretaceous (K) and Tertiary (T) geologic time periods has been placed must represent the remnants of a gigantic meteorite. However, a large 65-m.y.-old crater which could have been the result of the impact of this meteorite is not presently known on earth. One approach to evaluate the merits of the collisional hypothesis considered is based on the study of the probability of collision between a cosmic object of a suitable size and the earth. As moon and earth were subject to the same bombardment history and the preservation of craters on the moon is much better than on earth, a consideration of the lunar cratering record may provide crucial information.

  5. Lessons from the past: biotic recoveries from mass extinctions.

    PubMed

    Erwin, D H

    2001-05-01

    Although mass extinctions probably account for the disappearance of less than 5% of all extinct species, the evolutionary opportunities they have created have had a disproportionate effect on the history of life. Theoretical considerations and simulations have suggested that the empty niches created by a mass extinction should refill rapidly after extinction ameliorates. Under logistic models, this biotic rebound should be exponential, slowing as the environmental carrying capacity is approached. Empirical studies reveal a more complex dynamic, including positive feedback and an exponential growth phase during recoveries. Far from a model of refilling ecospace, mass extinctions appear to cause a collapse of ecospace, which must be rebuilt during recovery. Other generalities include the absence of a clear correlation between the magnitude of extinction and the pace of recovery or the resulting ecological and evolutionary disruption the presence of a survival interval, with few originations, immediately after an extinction and preceding the recovery phase, and the presence of many lineages that persist through an extinction event only to disappear during the subsequent recovery. Several recoveries include numerous missing lineages, groups that are found before the extinction, then latter in the recovery, but are missing during the initial survival-recovery phase. The limited biogeographic studies of recoveries suggest considerable variability between regions. PMID:11344285

  6. Lessons from the past: Biotic recoveries from mass extinctions

    PubMed Central

    Erwin, Douglas H.

    2001-01-01

    Although mass extinctions probably account for the disappearance of less than 5% of all extinct species, the evolutionary opportunities they have created have had a disproportionate effect on the history of life. Theoretical considerations and simulations have suggested that the empty niches created by a mass extinction should refill rapidly after extinction ameliorates. Under logistic models, this biotic rebound should be exponential, slowing as the environmental carrying capacity is approached. Empirical studies reveal a more complex dynamic, including positive feedback and an exponential growth phase during recoveries. Far from a model of refilling ecospace, mass extinctions appear to cause a collapse of ecospace, which must be rebuilt during recovery. Other generalities include the absence of a clear correlation between the magnitude of extinction and the pace of recovery or the resulting ecological and evolutionary disruption the presence of a survival interval, with few originations, immediately after an extinction and preceding the recovery phase, and the presence of many lineages that persist through an extinction event only to disappear during the subsequent recovery. Several recoveries include numerous missing lineages, groups that are found before the extinction, then latter in the recovery, but are missing during the initial survival–recovery phase. The limited biogeographic studies of recoveries suggest considerable variability between regions. PMID:11344285

  7. Conodont index fossil Hindeodus changxingensis Wang fingers greatest mass extinction event

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Metcalfe, I.; Nicoll, R.S.; Wardlaw, B.R.

    2007-01-01

    The marine conodont fossil species, Hindeodus changxingensis Wang, that has a distinctive morphology, is restricted to a very narrow stratigraphic interval essentially from the Permian-Triassic extinction event through the internationally recognized boundary and into the very earliest Triassic. The species is geographically widespread in the Tethyan Region, from Italy to South China, and serves as a characteristic index fossil to reliably identify this short but critical interval that encompasses the greatest mass extinction of life on earth and the boundary between the Paleozoic and Mesozoic Eras. ?? 2007 Nanjing Institute of Geology and Palaeontology, CAS.

  8. Catastrophic Events and Mass Extinctions: Impacts and Beyond

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    2000-01-01

    This volume contains extended abstracts that have been accepted for presentation at the conference on Catastrophic Events and Mass Extinctions: Impacts and Beyond, July 9-12, 2000, in Vienna, Austria.

  9. Rarity in mass extinctions and the future of ecosystems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hull, Pincelli M.; Darroch, Simon A. F.; Erwin, Douglas H.

    2015-12-01

    The fossil record provides striking case studies of biodiversity loss and global ecosystem upheaval. Because of this, many studies have sought to assess the magnitude of the current biodiversity crisis relative to past crises—a task greatly complicated by the need to extrapolate extinction rates. Here we challenge this approach by showing that the rarity of previously abundant taxa may be more important than extinction in the cascade of events leading to global changes in the biosphere. Mass rarity may provide the most robust measure of our current biodiversity crisis relative to those past, and new insights into the dynamics of mass extinction.

  10. Rarity in mass extinctions and the future of ecosystems.

    PubMed

    Hull, Pincelli M; Darroch, Simon A F; Erwin, Douglas H

    2015-12-17

    The fossil record provides striking case studies of biodiversity loss and global ecosystem upheaval. Because of this, many studies have sought to assess the magnitude of the current biodiversity crisis relative to past crises-a task greatly complicated by the need to extrapolate extinction rates. Here we challenge this approach by showing that the rarity of previously abundant taxa may be more important than extinction in the cascade of events leading to global changes in the biosphere. Mass rarity may provide the most robust measure of our current biodiversity crisis relative to those past, and new insights into the dynamics of mass extinction. PMID:26672552

  11. Rapid recovery from the Late Ordovician mass extinction

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Krug, A. Z.; Patzkowsky, M. E.

    2004-01-01

    Understanding the evolutionary role of mass extinctions requires detailed knowledge of postextinction recoveries. However, most models of recovery hinge on a direct reading of the fossil record, and several recent studies have suggested that the fossil record is especially incomplete for recovery intervals immediately after mass extinctions. Here, we analyze a database of genus occurrences for the paleocontinent of Laurentia to determine the effects of regional processes on recovery and the effects of variations in preservation and sampling intensity on perceived diversity trends and taxonomic rates during the Late Ordovician mass extinction and Early Silurian recovery. After accounting for variation in sampling intensity, we find that marine benthic diversity in Laurentia recovered to preextinction levels within 5 million years, which is nearly 15 million years sooner than suggested by global compilations. The rapid turnover in Laurentia suggests that processes such as immigration may have been particularly important in the recovery of regional ecosystems from environmental perturbations. However, additional regional studies and a global analysis of the Late Ordovician mass extinction that accounts for variations in sampling intensity are necessary to confirm this pattern. Because the record of Phanerozoic mass extinctions and postextinction recoveries may be compromised by variations in preservation and sampling intensity, all should be reevaluated with sampling-standardized analyses if the evolutionary role of mass extinctions is to be fully understood.

  12. Chicxulub impact, climate changes and mass-extinctions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Smit, J.

    2010-03-01

    The mass-extinctions at the Cretaceous-Paleogene boundary (K/PgB) are probably caused by environmental changes induced by the Chicxulub impact on the Yucatan peninsula. Even so, at least three other impacts of similar size must have taken place in the Phanerozoic. Yet after 30 years of intensive search, the connection between impact and extinction has remained largely speculative. What is so special about the Chicxulub impact? Or are the mass-extinctions due to a fortuitous concurrence of Deccan traps volcanism, sealevel changes and multiple impacts? We explore the last, complex, scenario first. The exact stratigraphic succession across K/PgB must be known in detail before the role of each of the components can be assessed. The Deccan traps began to extrude about 0.6-0.7My before K/Pg, based on marine Os isotopes (Ravizza, 2003). The Deccan traps may have led to a temperature increase in the deep south Atlantic, but surface waters were unaffected. In the last 3.8myr of the Maastrichtian, planktic foraminiferal faunas remain extremely diverse (>70 species). Only one species disappears and two appear. If ocean surface temperatures in this period had changed as consequence of the Deccan trap extrusions, it should have been visible as a change in diversity of planktic species. None has been observed before the K/PgB. Sealevel changes have been invoked (Gale, 2008) as cause for mass-extinctions at K/Pg. The sedimentology of the late Maastrichtian in shallow marine sequences in the US Gulf coast, Denmark, Holland and Spain, provides conflicting sequence stratigraphic interpretations. In the Maastrichtian type section in the ENCI quarry and Denmark (Stevns) a pronounced shallowing is documented in the last 0.3ma of the Maastrichtian, while in the Zumaya section the temporary disappearance of ammonite shells suggests the opposite: a deepening at 0.25ma followed by shallowing at 40ky before K/PgB. A well defined Sequence Boundary occurs about 0.1 my after the K/PgB, in the

  13. Mass extinctions caused by large bolide impacts

    SciTech Connect

    Alvarez, L.W.

    1987-07-01

    Evidence indicates that the collision of Earth and a large piece of Solar System derbris such as a meteoroid, asteroid or comet caused the great extinctions of 65 million years ago, leading to the transition from the age of the dinosaurs to the age of the mammals.

  14. Deccan Volcanism, Chicxulub Impact, Climate Change and the end-Cretaceous Mass Extinction

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Keller, Gerta; Punekar, Jahnavi; Mateo, Paula; Adatte, Thierry; Spangenberg, Jorge

    2015-04-01

    Age control for Deccan volcanism, associated global climate changes, high-stress conditions and the KTB mass extinction is excellent based on biostratigraphy and corroborated by new U-Pb dating providing new evidence for a complex mass extinction scenario. The massive Deccan eruptions of phase-2 began in the latest Maastrichtian C29r and ended at or near the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary (KTB) depositing ~3000 m of stacked lava flows or 80% of the total Deccan eruptions over a period of just 250 ky. The onset of phase-2 eruptions coincided with rapid global warming on land (8°C) and oceans (4°C) and increasingly high-stress environments evident by dwarfed species and decreased diversity preceding the mass extinction in planktic foraminiferal zones CF2-CF1. Deep cores in the Krishna-Godavari Basin, SE India, document the rapid mass extinction of planktic foraminifera in intertrappean sediments between four major volcanic eruptions known as the longest lava flows on Earth. Maximum stress is observed globally approaching the end of the Maastrichtian with faunal assemblages dominated (~90%) by the disaster opportunist Guembelitria cretacea. This interval correlates with the massive eruptions of the world's longest lava flows, renewed rapid global warming and ocean acidification during the last ~50 ky of the Maastrichtian. The Chicxulub impact occurred during the global warming near the base of zone CF1 preceding the mass extinction by <100 ky (depending on the time scale used). This age estimate is based on the stratigraphically oldest impact spherule layer in NE Mexico, Texas, and Yucatan crater core Yaxcopoil-1. In all other regions (e.g., North Atlantic, Caribbean, Belize, Guatemala, southern Mexico) impact spherules are reworked in early Danian sediments (zone P1a) at least 100 ky after the KTB due to Gulf Stream erosion and increased tectonic activity in the region. No species extinctions are associated with the Chicxulub impact. Any KTB mass extinction scenario

  15. Biogeographic and bathymetric determinants of brachiopod extinction and survival during the Late Ordovician mass extinction.

    PubMed

    Finnegan, Seth; Rasmussen, Christian M Ø; Harper, David A T

    2016-04-27

    The Late Ordovician mass extinction (LOME) coincided with dramatic climate changes, but there are numerous ways in which these changes could have driven marine extinctions. We use a palaeobiogeographic database of rhynchonelliform brachiopods to examine the selectivity of Late Ordovician-Early Silurian genus extinctions and evaluate which extinction drivers are best supported by the data. The first (latest Katian) pulse of the LOME preferentially affected genera restricted to deeper waters or to relatively narrow (less than 35°) palaeolatitudinal ranges. This pattern is only observed in the latest Katian, suggesting that it reflects drivers unique to this interval. Extinction of exclusively deeper-water genera implies that changes in water mass properties such as dissolved oxygen content played an important role. Extinction of genera with narrow latitudinal ranges suggests that interactions between shifting climate zones and palaeobiogeography may also have been important. We test the latter hypothesis by estimating whether each genus would have been able to track habitats within its thermal tolerance range during the greenhouse-icehouse climate transition. Models including these estimates are favoured over alternative models. We argue that the LOME, long regarded as non-selective, is highly selective along biogeographic and bathymetric axes that are not closely correlated with taxonomic identity. PMID:27122567

  16. Structure and dating errors in the geologic time scale and periodicity in mass extinctions

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Stothers, Richard B.

    1989-01-01

    Structure in the geologic time scale reflects a partly paleontological origin. As a result, ages of Cenozoic and Mesozoic stage boundaries exhibit a weak 28-Myr periodicity that is similar to the strong 26-Myr periodicity detected in mass extinctions of marine life by Raup and Sepkoski. Radiometric dating errors in the geologic time scale, to which the mass extinctions are stratigraphically tied, do not necessarily lessen the likelihood of a significant periodicity in mass extinctions, but do spread the acceptable values of the period over the range 25-27 Myr for the Harland et al. time scale or 25-30 Myr for the DNAG time scale. If the Odin time scale is adopted, acceptable periods fall between 24 and 33 Myr, but are not robust against dating errors. Some indirect evidence from independently-dated flood-basalt volcanic horizons tends to favor the Odin time scale.

  17. Did Deccan Volcanism or the Chicxulub Impact Cause the K-T Mass Extinction?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Keller, G.; Reddy, A. N.; Jaiprakash, B. C.; Gertsch, B.; Adatte, T.; Upadhyay, H.; Bhowmick, P. K.; Pande, D. K.

    2008-12-01

    It is generally believed that the Chicxulub impact caused the Cretaceous-Tertiary (K-T) mass extinction. However, strong evidence from Mexico and Texas shows that this impact predates the K-T boundary and caused no species extinctions or any other significant environmental effects (Keller et al., 2003, 2007). The Chicxulub impact and K-T mass extinction are thus two separate and unrelated events and the biotic effects of this impact have been vastly overestimated. The real cause for the K-T mass extinction may now have been discovered in the Deccan volcanic eruptions of India. Recent discoveries reveal Deccan volcanism as the most likely cause for the K-T mass extinction for several reasons detailed in Chenet et al. (2007), Keller et al. (2008) and Self et al. (2008): (1) The main phase of Deccan Trap eruptions may have occurred over as little as 10,000 to 100,000 years. (2) The K-T mass extinction coincides with the end of this main phase of volcanism. (3) The longest lava flows (megaflows), spanning 1000 km across India and out to the Gulf of Bengal, mark this phase of Deccan volcanism and the mass extinction. (4) SO2 emissions associated with just one of these major volcanic pulses, or megaflows, are on the order of SO2 emissions estimated from the Chicxulub impact. (5) The total SO2 emissions during the main phase of Deccan volcanism are estimated at 30 to 100 times that of the Chicxulub impact. Thus, the short duration of volcanism and the repeated massive SO2 injections may have caused a deadly runaway effect that lead to the K-T mass extinction. Critical new data on the K-T mass extinction comes from investigations of Deccan Traps outcrops at Jhilmili, Madhya Pradesh, central India, quarry outcrops in Rajahmundry and subsurface cores drilled in the Krishna-Godavari Basin, eastern India, by the Oil and Natural Gas Corporation of India (ONGC). In eight subsurface cores examined, a total of 9 volcanic megaflows have been identified as occurring in very rapid

  18. Community stability and selective extinction during the Permian-Triassic mass extinction

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Roopnarine, Peter D.; Angielczyk, Kenneth D.

    2015-10-01

    The fossil record contains exemplars of extreme biodiversity crises. Here, we examined the stability of terrestrial paleocommunities from South Africa during Earth's most severe mass extinction, the Permian-Triassic. We show that stability depended critically on functional diversity and patterns of guild interaction, regardless of species richness. Paleocommunities exhibited less transient instability—relative to model communities with alternative community organization—and significantly greater probabilities of being locally stable during the mass extinction. Functional patterns that have evolved during an ecosystem's history support significantly more stable communities than hypothetical alternatives.

  19. Community stability and selective extinction during the Permian-Triassic mass extinction.

    PubMed

    Roopnarine, Peter D; Angielczyk, Kenneth D

    2015-10-01

    The fossil record contains exemplars of extreme biodiversity crises. Here, we examined the stability of terrestrial paleocommunities from South Africa during Earth's most severe mass extinction, the Permian-Triassic. We show that stability depended critically on functional diversity and patterns of guild interaction, regardless of species richness. Paleocommunities exhibited less transient instability—relative to model communities with alternative community organization—and significantly greater probabilities of being locally stable during the mass extinction. Functional patterns that have evolved during an ecosystem's history support significantly more stable communities than hypothetical alternatives. PMID:26430120

  20. A scale of greatness and causal classification of mass extinctions: Implications for mechanisms

    PubMed Central

    Şengör, A. M. Celâl; Atayman, Saniye; Özeren, Sinan

    2008-01-01

    A quantitative scale for measuring greatness, G, of mass extinctions is proposed on the basis of rate of biodiversity diminution expressed as the product of the loss of biodiversity, called magnitude (M), and the inverse of time in which that loss occurs, designated as intensity (I). On this scale, the catastrophic Cretaceous–Tertiary (K-T) extinction appears as the greatest since the Ordovician and the only one with a probable extraterrestrial cause. The end-Permian extinction was less great but with a large magnitude (M) and smaller intensity (I); only some of its individual episodes involved some semblance of catastrophe. Other extinctions during the Phanerozoic, with the possible exception of the end-Silurian diversity plunge, were parts of a forced oscillatory phenomenon and seem caused by marine- and land-habitat destruction during continental assemblies that led to elimination of shelves and (after the Devonian) rain forests and enlargement of deserts. Glaciations and orogenies that shortened and thickened the continental crust only exacerbated these effects. During the Mesozoic and Cainozoic, the evolution of life was linearly progressive, interrupted catastrophically only at the K-T boundary. The end-Triassic extinction was more like the Paleozoic extinctions in nature and probably also in its cause. By contrast, the current extinction resembles none of the earlier ones and may end up being the greatest of all. PMID:18779562

  1. Impact-driven ocean acidification as a mechanism of the Cretaceous-Palaeogene mass extinction

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ohno, S.; Kadono, T.; Kurosawa, K.; Hamura, T.; Sakaiya, T.; Shigemori, K.; Hironaka, Y.; Sano, T.; Watari, T.; Otani, K.; Matsui, T.; Sugita, S.

    2014-12-01

    The Cretaceous-Paleogene (K-Pg) mass extinction event at 66 Ma triggered by a meteorite impact is one of the most drastic events in the history of life on the Earth. Many hypotheses have been proposed as killing mechanisms induced by the impact, including global darkness due to high concentrations of atmospheric silicate dust particles, global wildfires, greenhouse warming due to CO2 release, and global acid rain. However, the actual mechanism of extinction remains highly controversial. One of the most important clues for understanding the extinction mechanism is the marine plankton record, which indicates that plankton foraminifera, living in the near-surface ocean, suffered very severe extinction in contrast to the high survival ratio of benthic foraminifera. No proposed extinction mechanism can account for this globally observed marine extinction pattern. Here, we show that SO3-rich impact vapor was released in the K-Pg impact and resulted in the occurrence of global acid rain and sudden severe ocean acidification at the end of the Cretaceous, based on the new results of impact experiments at velocities much higher than previous works (> 10 km/s) and theoretical calculations on aerosol coagulation processes. Sudden severe ocean acidification can account for many of the features of various geologic records at the K?Pg boundary, including severe extinction of plankton foraminifera. This extinction mechanism requires impact degassing of SO3-rich vapor, which is not necessarily found at impact sites other than Chicxulub, suggesting that the degree of mass extinction was controlled greatly by target lithology.

  2. Impact Theory of Mass Extinctions and the Invertebrate Fossil Record

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Alvarez, Walter; Kauffman, Erle G.; Surlyk, Finn; Alvarez, Luis W.; Asaro, Frank; Michel, Helen V.

    1984-03-01

    There is much evidence that the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary was marked by a massive meteorite impact. Theoretical consideration of the consequences of such an impact predicts sharp extinctions in many groups of animals precisely at the boundary. Paleontological data clearly show gradual declines in diversity over the last 1 to 10 million years in various invertebrate groups. Reexamination of data from careful studies of the best sections shows that, in addition to undergoing the decline, four groups (ammonites, cheilostomate bryozoans, brachiopods, and bivalves) were affected by sudden truncations precisely at the iridium anomaly that marks the boundary. The paleontological record thus bears witness to terminal-Cretaceous extinctions on two time scales: a slow decline unrelated to the impact and a sharp truncation synchronous with and probably caused by the impact.

  3. Impact theory of mass extinctions and the invertebrate fossil record

    SciTech Connect

    Alvarez, W.; Kauffman, E.G.; Surlyk, F.; Alvarez, L.W.; Asaro, F.; Michel, H.V.

    1984-03-16

    There is much evidence that the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary was marked by a massive meteorite impact. Theoretical consideration of the consequences of such an impact predicts sharp extinctions in many groups of animals precisely at the boundary. Paleontological data clearly show gradual declines in diversity over the last 1 to 10 million years in various invertebrate groups. Reexamination of data from careful studies of the best sections shows that, in addition to undergoing the decline, four groups (ammonites, cheilostomate bryozoans, brachiopods, and bivalves) were affected by sudden truncations precisely at the iridium anomaly that marks the boundary. The paleontological record thus bears witness to terminal-Cretaceous extinctions on two time scales: a slow decline unrelated to the impact and a sharp truncation synchronous with and probably caused by the impact. 50 references, 4 figures.

  4. Biotic effects of late Maastrichtian mantle plume volcanism: implications for impacts and mass extinctions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Keller, Gerta

    2005-02-01

    During the late Maastrichtian, DSDP Site 216 on Ninetyeast Ridge, Indian Ocean, passed over a mantle plume leading to volcanic eruptions, islands built to sea level, and catastrophic environmental conditions for planktic and benthic foraminifera. The biotic effects were severe, including dwarfing of all benthic and planktic species, a 90% reduction in species diversity, exclusion of all ecological specialists, near-absence of ecological generalists, and dominance of the disaster opportunist Guembelitria alternating with low O 2-tolerant species. These faunal characteristics are identical to those of the K-T boundary mass extinction, except that the fauna recovered after Site 216 passed beyond the influence of mantle plume volcanism about 500 kyr before the K-T boundary. Similar biotic effects have been observed in Madagascar, Israel, and Egypt. The direct correlation between mantle plume volcanism and biotic effects on Ninetyeast Ridge and the similarity to the K-T mass extinction, which is generally attributed to a large impact, reveal that impacts and volcanism can cause similar environmental catastrophes. This raises the inevitable question: Are mass extinctions caused by impacts or mantle plume volcanism? The unequivocal correlation between intense volcanism and high-stress assemblages necessitates a review of current impact and mass extinction theories.

  5. Late Frasnian mass extinction: Conodont event stratigraphy, global changes, and possible causes

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Sandberg, Charles A.; Ziegler, Willi; Dreesen, Roland; Butler, Jamie L.

    1988-01-01

    Several abrupt changes in conodont biofacies are documented to occur synchronously at six primary control sections across the Frasnian-Famennian boundary in Euramerica. These changes occurred within a time-span of only about 100,000 years near the end of the latest Frasnian linguiformis Zone, which is formally named to replace the Uppermost gigas Zone. The conodont-biofacies changes are interpreted to reflect a eustatic rise followed by an abrupt eustatic fall immediately preceding the late Frasnian mass extinction. Two new conodont species are named and described. Ancyrognathus ubiquitus n.sp. is recorded only just below and above the level of late Frasnian extinction and hence is a global marker for that event. Palmatolepispraetriangularis n.sp. is the long-sought Frasnian ancestor of the formerly cryptogenic species, Pa. triangularis, indicator of the earliest Famennian Lower triangularis Zone. The actual extinction event occurred entirely within the Frasnian and is interpreted to have been of brief duration-from as long as 20,000 years to as short as several days. The eustatic rise-and-fall couplet associated with the late Frasnian mass extinction is similar to eustatic couplets associated with the demise of most Frasnian (F2h) reefs worldwide about 1 m.y. earlier and with a latest Famennian mass extinction about 9.5 m.y. later. All these events may be directly or indirectly attributable to extraterrestrial triggering mechanisms. An impact of a small bolide or a near miss of a larger bolide may have caused the earlier demise of Frasnian reefs. An impact of possibly the same larger bolide in the Southern Hemisphere would explain the late Frasnian mass extinction. Global regression during the Famennian probably resulted from Southern-Hemisphere glaciation triggered by the latest Frasnian impact. Glaciation probably was the indirect cause of the latest Famennian mass extinction.

  6. Middle-Late Permian mass extinction on land

    SciTech Connect

    Retallack, G.J.; Metzger, C.A.; Greaver, T.; Jahren, A.H.; Smith, R.M.H.; Sheldon, N.D.

    2006-11-15

    The end-Permian mass extinction has been envisaged as the nadir of biodiversity decline due to increasing volcanic gas emissions over some 9 million years. We propose a different tempo and mechanism of extinction because we recognize two separate but geologically abrupt mass extinctions on land, one terminating the Middle Permian (Guadalupian) at 260.4 Ma and a later one ending the Permian Period at 251 Ma. Our evidence comes from new paleobotanical, paleopedological, and carbon isotopic studies of Portal Mountain, Antarctica, and comparable studies in the Karoo Basin, South Africa. Extinctions have long been apparent among marine invertebrates at both the end of the Guadalupian and end of the Permian, which were also times of warm-wet greenhouse climatic transients, marked soil erosion, transition from high- to low-sinuosity and braided streams, soil stagnation in wetlands, and profound negative carbon isotope anomalies. Both mass extinctions may have resulted from catastrophic methane outbursts to the atmosphere from coal intruded by feeder dikes to flood basalts, such as the end-Guadalupian Emeishan Basalt and end-Permian Siberian Traps.

  7. Chicxulub impact, climate changes and mass-extinctions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Smit, J.

    2010-03-01

    The mass-extinctions at the Cretaceous-Paleogene boundary (K/PgB) are probably caused by environmental changes induced by the Chicxulub impact on the Yucatan peninsula. Even so, at least three other impacts of similar size must have taken place in the Phanerozoic. Yet after 30 years of intensive search, the connection between impact and extinction has remained largely speculative. What is so special about the Chicxulub impact? Or are the mass-extinctions due to a fortuitous concurrence of Deccan traps volcanism, sealevel changes and multiple impacts? We explore the last, complex, scenario first. The exact stratigraphic succession across K/PgB must be known in detail before the role of each of the components can be assessed. The Deccan traps began to extrude about 0.6-0.7My before K/Pg, based on marine Os isotopes (Ravizza, 2003). The Deccan traps may have led to a temperature increase in the deep south Atlantic, but surface waters were unaffected. In the last 3.8myr of the Maastrichtian, planktic foraminiferal faunas remain extremely diverse (>70 species). Only one species disappears and two appear. If ocean surface temperatures in this period had changed as consequence of the Deccan trap extrusions, it should have been visible as a change in diversity of planktic species. None has been observed before the K/PgB. Sealevel changes have been invoked (Gale, 2008) as cause for mass-extinctions at K/Pg. The sedimentology of the late Maastrichtian in shallow marine sequences in the US Gulf coast, Denmark, Holland and Spain, provides conflicting sequence stratigraphic interpretations. In the Maastrichtian type section in the ENCI quarry and Denmark (Stevns) a pronounced shallowing is documented in the last 0.3ma of the Maastrichtian, while in the Zumaya section the temporary disappearance of ammonite shells suggests the opposite: a deepening at 0.25ma followed by shallowing at 40ky before K/PgB. A well defined Sequence Boundary occurs about 0.1 my after the K/PgB, in the

  8. Examination of hypotheses for the Permo-Triassic boundary extinction by carbon cycle modeling.

    PubMed

    Berner, Robert A

    2002-04-01

    The biological extinction that occurred at the Permian-Triassic boundary represents the most extensive loss of species of any known event of the past 550 million years. There have been a wide variety of explanations offered for this extinction. In the present paper, a number of the more popular recent hypotheses are evaluated in terms of predictions that they make, or that they imply, concerning the global carbon cycle. For this purpose, a mass balance model is used that calculates atmospheric CO2 and oceanic delta13C as a function of time. Hypotheses considered include: (i) the release of massive amounts of CO2 from the ocean to the atmosphere resulting in mass poisoning; (ii) the release of large amounts of CO2 from volcanic degassing; (iii) the release of methane stored in methane hydrates; (iv) the decomposition and oxidation of dead organisms to CO2 after sudden mass mortality; and (v) the long-term reorganization of the global carbon cycle. The modeling indicates that measured short-term changes in delta13C at the boundary are best explained by methane release with mass mortality and volcanic degassing contributing in secondary roles. None of the processes result in excessively high levels of atmospheric CO2 if they occurred on time scales of more than about 1,000 years. The idea of poisoning by high levels of atmospheric CO2 depends on the absence of subthermocline calcium carbonate deposition during the latest Permian. The most far-reaching effect was found to be reorganization of the carbon cycle with major sedimentary burial of organic matter shifting from the land to the sea, resulting in less burial overall, decreased atmospheric O2, and higher atmospheric CO2 for the entire Triassic Period. PMID:11917102

  9. Timing and magnitude of tetrapod extinctions across the Permo-Triassic boundary

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lucas, Spencer G.

    2009-11-01

    A review of the tetrapod (amphibian and amniote) record across the Permo-Triassic boundary (PTB) indicates a global evolutionary turnover of tetrapods close to the PTB. There is also a within-Guadalupian tetrapod extinction here called the dinocephalian extinction event, probably of global extent. The dinocephalian extinction event is a late Wordian or early Capitanian extinction based on biostratigraphic data and magnetostratigraphy (the extinction precedes the Illawara reversal), so it is not synchronous with the end-Guadalupian marine extinction. The Russian PTB section documents two tetrapod extinction events, one just before the dinocephalian extinction event and the other at the base of the Lystrosaurus assemblage. However, generic diversity across the latter extinction remains essentially the same despite a total evolutionary turnover of tetrapod genera. The Chinese and South African sections document the stratigraphic overlap of Dicynodon and Lystrosaurus. In the Karoo basin, the lowest occurrence of Lystrosaurus is in a stratigraphic interval of reversed magnetic polarity, which indicates it predates the marine-defined PTB, so, as previously suggested by some workers, the lowest occurrence of Lystrosaurus cannot be used to identify the PTB in nonmarine strata. Correlation of the marine PTB section at Meishan, southern China, to the Karoo basin based primarily on magnetostratigraphy indicates that the main marine extinction preceded the PTB tetrapod extinction event. The ecological severity of the PTB tetrapod extinction event has generally been overstated, and the major change in tetrapod assemblages that took place across the PTB was the prolonged and complex "replacement" of therapsids by archosaurs that began before the end of the Permian and was not complete until well into the Triassic. The tetrapod extinctions are not synchronous with the major marine extinctions at the end of the Guadalupian and just before the end of the Permian, so the idea of

  10. Climate modelling of mass-extinction events: a review

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Feulner, Georg

    2009-07-01

    Despite tremendous interest in the topic and decades of research, the origins of the major losses of biodiversity in the history of life on Earth remain elusive. A variety of possible causes for these mass-extinction events have been investigated, including impacts of asteroids or comets, large-scale volcanic eruptions, effects from changes in the distribution of continents caused by plate tectonics, and biological factors, to name but a few. Many of these suggested drivers involve or indeed require changes of Earth's climate, which then affect the biosphere of our planet, causing a global reduction in the diversity of biological species. It can be argued, therefore, that a detailed understanding of these climatic variations and their effects on ecosystems are prerequisites for a solution to the enigma of biological extinctions. Apart from investigations of the paleoclimate data of the time periods of mass extinctions, climate-modelling experiments should be able to shed some light on these dramatic events. Somewhat surprisingly, however, only a few comprehensive modelling studies of the climate changes associated with extinction events have been undertaken. These studies will be reviewed in this paper. Furthermore, the role of modelling in extinction research in general and suggestions for future research are discussed.

  11. Early Triassic stromatolites as post-mass extinction disaster forms

    SciTech Connect

    Schubert, J.K.; Bottjer, D.J. )

    1992-10-01

    Aftermaths of mass extinctions have been thought to be characterized by relaxation of ecological constraints accompanied by increased prominence of opportunistic generalists. Such taxa, termed 'disaster forms,' have been shown to increase dramatically in range and abundance after several mass extinction events. The Cambrian-Ordovician stromatolite decline in normal-marine level-bottom environments has been explained as a direct or indirect consequence of increases in ecological constraints, such as greater levels of predation and/or bioturbation of microbial communities, caused by early Paleozoic benthic invertebrate evolution and diversification. Thus, one would predict that in post-Ordovician strata, stromatolites might appear in normal-marine level-bottom environments as disaster forms in the aftermaths of mass extinction particularly devastating to the benthic biota, such as during Early Triassic time. Mounded stromatolites are present in two beds (up to 1.5 m thick) of the Lower Triassic (Spathian) Virgin Limestone Member (Moenkopi Formation) in the southwestern Spring Mountains of Nevada. Stromatolites from level-bottom normal-marine subtidal environments have also been described from other Lower Triassic strata in North America, Europe, and Asia. These stromatolites, unusual in level-bottom normal-marine settings, may have developed locally during the long aftermath (4-5 m.y.) of the Permian-Triassic mass extinction because of partial relaxation of the ecological constraints that typically restricted them from unstressed subtidal, normal-marine, level-bottom environments.

  12. Effect of environmental variables on body size evolution of crinoids between periods of mass extinctions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Jani, T.; Heim, N. A.; Payne, J.

    2013-12-01

    Body size plays a major role in determining whether or not an organism can sustain in its local environment. The ecosystem of an animal has a major effect on the fitness of organisms, and it would be interesting to note the degree to which various environmental factors alter body size. In my project, I identify three environmental factors that seem to affect body size of crinoids, marine invertebrates from phylum Echinodermata, and explore how these variables play out in the intervals between the five mass extinctions. The particular factors I study include atmospheric CO2 concentration (proxy for temperature), O2 concentration, and sea level. Although the r and p values for all of these factors were statistically insignificant to definitively make any correlation, there was a visual correlation. For O2, I noted a generally positive correlation with body size over time. CO2 trends suggested a negative correlation until the K-T boundary, but a positive correlation afterwards. Correlation with sea level was a little more complicated: correlation was positive from the start of the Phanerozoic to the Permian extinction; it turned negative until the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary; afterwards, it again became positive. However, for all three variables, statistical values are too low to say definitively mark any correlation. Out of all three factors, CO2 levels had the highest correlation and lowest p-values in the most time intervals: from the start of the Phanerozoic to Ordovician-Silurian Extinction, from the Late Devonian to the Permian Extinction, and from the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary to the present. When considering first differences, CO2 levels also had the highest correlation from the Permian Extinction to Triassic-Jurassic Extinction and from the Triassic-Jurassic Extinction to Cretaceous-Tertiary Extinction. Using PaleoTS, I found that body size evolution patterns either seemed to follow either an unbiased random walk (URW) or stasis in the intervals between

  13. A multi-proxy approach to decode the end-Cretaceous mass extinction

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Punekar, Jahnavi; Keller, Gerta; Khozyem, Hassan; Adatte, Thierry; Font, Eric; Spangenberg, Jorge

    2015-04-01

    The Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary (KTB) mass extinction may have involved a complex array of interrelated causes that are best evaluated by a multi-proxy approach. This study evaluates the environmental changes during the Plummerita hantkeninoides zone CF1 leading up to the extinction using planktic foraminifera, carbonate dissolution effects, stable isotopes, and magnetic susceptibility for sedimentary sequences in France (Bidart), Austria (Gamsbach) and Tunisia (Elles). Results show higher abundance (20-30%) and diversity (~15 species) of globotruncanids in planktic foraminiferal assemblages at Bidart and Gamsbach (deep water deposits) than at Elles (abundance <10%, diversity <10%, middle shelf deposits). Oxygen isotopes in zone CF1 of Elles record rapid climate warming followed by cooling and a return to rapid warming during the last 10 kyr prior to the mass extinction. The onset of the mass extinction crisis is observed in the top 50-60 cm below the KTB at Bidart and Gamsbach, and in the top ~4.5 m at Elles due to much higher sediment accumulation rates. These intervals record low magnetic susceptibility and high foraminiferal test fragmentation index (FI) and increased abundance of species with dissolution-resistant morphologies. The correlative interval in India records significantly stronger carbonate dissolution effects in intertrappean sediments between the longest lava flows, ending with the mass extinction. Based on current evidence, carbonate dissolution follows the first warming event and may be linked to ocean acidification as a result of massive Deccan volcanism. The estimated 12,000-28,000 Gigatons (Gt) of CO2 and 5200-13,600 Gt of SO2 introduced into the atmosphere likely triggered the carbonate crisis in the oceans. This could have resulted in severe stress for marine calcifiers and led to the mass extinction.

  14. Lessons from the past: evolutionary impacts of mass extinctions.

    PubMed

    Jablonski, D

    2001-05-01

    Mass extinctions have played many evolutionary roles, involving differential survivorship or selectivity of taxa and traits, the disruption or preservation of evolutionary trends and ecosystem organization, and the promotion of taxonomic and morphological diversifications-often along unexpected trajectories-after the destruction or marginalization of once-dominant clades. The fossil record suggests that survivorship during mass extinctions is not strictly random, but it often fails to coincide with factors promoting survival during times of low extinction intensity. Although of very serious concern, present-day extinctions have not yet achieved the intensities seen in the Big Five mass extinctions of the geologic past, which each removed > or =50% of the subset of relatively abundant marine invertebrate genera. The best comparisons for predictive purposes therefore will involve factors such as differential extinction intensities among regions, clades, and functional groups, rules governing postextinction biotic interchanges and evolutionary dynamics, and analyses of the factors that cause taxa and evolutionary trends to continue unabated, to suffer setbacks but resume along the same trajectory, to survive only to fall into a marginal role or disappear ("dead clade walking"), or to undergo a burst of diversification. These issues need to be addressed in a spatially explicit framework, because the fossil record suggests regional differences in postextinction diversification dynamics and biotic interchanges. Postextinction diversifications lag far behind the initial taxonomic and morphological impoverishment and homogenization; they do not simply reoccupy vacated adaptive peaks, but explore opportunities as opened and constrained by intrinsic biotic factors and the ecological and evolutionary context of the radiation. PMID:11344284

  15. Lessons from the past: Evolutionary impacts of mass extinctions

    PubMed Central

    Jablonski, David

    2001-01-01

    Mass extinctions have played many evolutionary roles, involving differential survivorship or selectivity of taxa and traits, the disruption or preservation of evolutionary trends and ecosystem organization, and the promotion of taxonomic and morphological diversifications—often along unexpected trajectories—after the destruction or marginalization of once-dominant clades. The fossil record suggests that survivorship during mass extinctions is not strictly random, but it often fails to coincide with factors promoting survival during times of low extinction intensity. Although of very serious concern, present-day extinctions have not yet achieved the intensities seen in the Big Five mass extinctions of the geologic past, which each removed ≥50% of the subset of relatively abundant marine invertebrate genera. The best comparisons for predictive purposes therefore will involve factors such as differential extinction intensities among regions, clades, and functional groups, rules governing postextinction biotic interchanges and evolutionary dynamics, and analyses of the factors that cause taxa and evolutionary trends to continue unabated, to suffer setbacks but resume along the same trajectory, to survive only to fall into a marginal role or disappear (“dead clade walking”), or to undergo a burst of diversification. These issues need to be addressed in a spatially explicit framework, because the fossil record suggests regional differences in postextinction diversification dynamics and biotic interchanges. Postextinction diversifications lag far behind the initial taxonomic and morphological impoverishment and homogenization; they do not simply reoccupy vacated adaptive peaks, but explore opportunities as opened and constrained by intrinsic biotic factors and the ecological and evolutionary context of the radiation. PMID:11344284

  16. Volcanism and related Environmental changes linked to Late Maastrichtian High Stress and KT Mass Extinction

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Keller, Gerta; Adatte, Thierry

    2010-05-01

    Near the end of the Maastrichtian Earth was hit by a confluence of catastrophes ranging from impacts to some of the most devastating volcanic eruptions coupled with major changes in climate, sea level and ocean chemistry that ultimately led to the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary (KTB) mass extinction. For three decades this mass extinction has been commonly attributed to the sole kill-effect of the Chicxulub impact on Yucatan. Multi-disciplinary evidence (paleontologic, stratigraphic, sedimentologic geochemical) from the Yucatan impact crater to sections in Mexico and Texas revealed that this impact predates the KTB and caused no mass extinction. Recent studies reveal that the most devastating Deccan volcanic eruptions in India occurred near the end of the Maastrichtian and ended coincident with the KT mass extinction (Keller et al., 2008). Examination of biotic stress in the marine realm leading up to the KT mass extinction reveals times of environmental stresses associated with volcanism, greenhouse warming, mesotrophic basins and shallow marginal settings from the Tethys Ocean to the South Atlantic and Indian Oceans (Keller and Abramovich, 2009). Biotic stress conditions vary with the degree of environmental change and range from intraspecies size reduction, to loss of diversity and ultimately mass extinction. No significant biotic stress was observed in assemblages before and after the Chicxulub impact identified by a layer of impact spherules in late Maastrichtian sediments of zone CF1 predating the KTB in Mexico and Texas (Keller et al., 2009b,c). Maximum biotic stress leading to the KT mass extinction is associated with Deccan volcanism in India near the end of the Maastrichtian. This suggests that the mass extinction was likely a direct cause of Deccan volcanism, although the presence of a major Ir anomaly at the KTB does not rule out the possibility of a second major bolide impact exacerbating already catastrophic conditions. Keller, G., Adatte, T., Gardin, S

  17. Operation of the breeze tunnel to determine mass extinction coefficients

    SciTech Connect

    Sehmel, G.A.; Bonfante, R.; Catalano, E.; Rouse, W.G.; Banks, D.R.

    1993-06-01

    The breeze tunnel at the Edgewood Research, Development and Engineering Center (ERDEC) at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, is a unique facility for determining the efficacy of released smoke/obscurants in flowing air as a function of controlling variables. Optimum material feed characteristics and generator operating conditions can be determined. The facility allows investigation of the effects of different generator operating variables, airborne concentrations, and airborne particle sizes on mass extinction coefficients. The breeze tunnel is now available for Department of Defense (DoD) trials. During trials in the breeze tunnel, obscurants have been released from the compact-disc-generator, the IR-Log generator, and the XM56 generator. Obscurant release rates have ranged from an instantaneous puff to a continuous release of 10 lb/min. Extinction can be measured in the visual, infrared, and millimeter ranges of the electromagnetic spectrum. Experimental conditions allow calculation of mass extinction coefficients as a function of generator variables, including material release rates. Average mass extinction coefficients address attenuation from obscurants, both single primary particles and aggregates.

  18. The role of Deccan volcanism during the K-T mass extinction

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Adatte, T.; Keller, G.; Gertsch, B.

    2012-12-01

    The potential role of major volcanic provinces has long been neglected as potential cause for major mass extinctions in Earth's history. This is despite the fact that volcanic activity is implicated in four of the five Phanerozoic mass extinctions, whereas a large asteroid impact is only associated with the K-T mass extinction. After 28 years of nearly unchallenged perception that a large impact (Chicxulub) on Yucatan caused the end-Cretaceous mass extinction, this theory is facing its most serious challenge from Deccan volcanism in India. Recent advances in Deccan volcanic studies show that Deccan Trap volcanism began with a relatively minor eruption phase (~6% of total volume) during the late Maastrichtian magnetic polarity C30n. The main eruption phase (~80%) occurred over a short period in C29r just below the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary (KTB) and the last Deccan phase (~14%) erupted in the early Danian C29n. Multiproxy studies from sections in Meghalaya (NE India), Jhilmili in central India (Madhya Pradesh), 6 quarry outcrops from Rajahmundry (SE India), 10 deep wells from the Krishna-Godavari Basin (K-G) (Andhra Pradesh) place the KTB mass extinction near the end of the main Deccan phase coincident with the mass extinction. These studies show that the second and third phase of eruptions each produced the world's largest and longest lava megaflows ~1500 km across India through the K-G Basin into the Bay of Bengal. These megaflows are separated by sand, silt and shale which record the mass extinction across an interval that spans zones CF1-CF2 and most of the nannofossil Micula prinsii zone and is correlative with the rapid global warming and subsequent cooling near the end of the Maastrichtian. The mass extinction began preceding the first of the four mega-flows in C29r. Planktic foraminifera suffered a 50% drop in species richness. Survivors suffered another 50% drop after the first mega-flow, leaving just 7 to 8 survivor species. No recovery occurred between

  19. Mid Pleistocene foraminiferal mass extinction coupled with phytoplankton evolution

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kender, Sev; McClymont, Erin L.; Elmore, Aurora C.; Emanuele, Dario; Leng, Melanie J.; Elderfield, Henry

    2016-06-01

    Understanding the interaction between climate and biotic evolution is crucial for deciphering the sensitivity of life. An enigmatic mass extinction occurred in the deep oceans during the Mid Pleistocene, with a loss of over 100 species (20%) of sea floor calcareous foraminifera. An evolutionarily conservative group, benthic foraminifera often comprise >50% of eukaryote biomass on the deep-ocean floor. Here we test extinction hypotheses (temperature, corrosiveness and productivity) in the Tasman Sea, using geochemistry and micropalaeontology, and find evidence from several globally distributed sites that the extinction was caused by a change in phytoplankton food source. Coccolithophore evolution may have enhanced the seasonal `bloom' nature of primary productivity and fundamentally shifted it towards a more intra-annually variable state at ~0.8 Ma. Our results highlight intra-annual variability as a potential new consideration for Mid Pleistocene global biogeochemical climate models, and imply that deep-sea biota may be sensitive to future changes in productivity.

  20. Mass extinctions show selective patterns in crinoid body size

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Soto, A.; Tang, C.; Pelagio, M.; Heim, N. A.; Payne, J.

    2013-12-01

    There have been five major extinctions on planet Earth: the end of the Ordovician, late Devonian, late Permian, late Triassic and the late Cretaceous and through all of these, Crinoids have still managed to prosper. Our project attempts to find a correlation between these five mass extinctions and the body size of Crinoids. Past research has shown that bigger animals are more prone to extinction compared to smaller sized ones because of their complex environmental niches. We hypothesized that small-sized Crinoids would have a higher possibility of survival compared to the larger-sized Crinoids. We first graphed Crinoids' maximum body size and the five major extinctions throughout time for any visual correlation between them. We then used t-tests as our statistical analyses to find any differences between the size of survivors and. There was no mean difference between the mean size of victims and survivors with the exception of the end of the Triassic extinction. There are many possible explanations for this difference in the end of the Triassic such as 1) a rise in atmospheric CO2, 2) a combination was volcanic CO2 and catastrophic dissociation of gas hydrate, and/or 3) a cooling in temperature and oceanic changes occurred.

  1. Eutrophication, microbial-sulfate reduction and mass extinctions.

    PubMed

    Schobben, Martin; Stebbins, Alan; Ghaderi, Abbas; Strauss, Harald; Korn, Dieter; Korte, Christoph

    2016-01-01

    In post-Cambrian time, life on Earth experienced 5 major extinction events, likely instigated by adverse environmental conditions. Biodiversity loss among marine taxa, for at least 3 of these mass extinction events (Late Devonian, end-Permian and end-Triassic), has been connected with widespread oxygen-depleted and sulfide-bearing marine water. Furthermore, geochemical and sedimentary evidence suggest that these events correlate with rather abrupt climate warming and possibly increased terrestrial weathering. This suggests that biodiversity loss may be triggered by mechanisms intrinsic to the Earth system, notably, the biogeochemical sulfur and carbon cycle. This climate warming feedback produces large-scale eutrophication on the continental shelf, which, in turn, expands oxygen minimum zones by increased respiration, which can turn to a sulfidic state by increased microbial-sulfate reduction due to increased availability of organic matter. A plankton community turnover from a high-diversity eukaryote to high-biomass bacterial dominated food web is the catalyst proposed in this anoxia-extinction scenario and stands in stark contrast to the postulated productivity collapse suggested for the end-Cretaceous mass extinction. This cascade of events is relevant for the future ocean under predicted greenhouse driven climate change. The exacerbation of anoxic "dead" zones is already progressing in modern oceanic environments, and this is likely to increase due to climate induced continental weathering and resulting eutrophication of the oceans. PMID:27066181

  2. Eutrophication, microbial-sulfate reduction and mass extinctions

    PubMed Central

    Schobben, Martin; Stebbins, Alan; Ghaderi, Abbas; Strauss, Harald; Korn, Dieter; Korte, Christoph

    2016-01-01

    ABSTRACT In post-Cambrian time, life on Earth experienced 5 major extinction events, likely instigated by adverse environmental conditions. Biodiversity loss among marine taxa, for at least 3 of these mass extinction events (Late Devonian, end-Permian and end-Triassic), has been connected with widespread oxygen-depleted and sulfide-bearing marine water. Furthermore, geochemical and sedimentary evidence suggest that these events correlate with rather abrupt climate warming and possibly increased terrestrial weathering. This suggests that biodiversity loss may be triggered by mechanisms intrinsic to the Earth system, notably, the biogeochemical sulfur and carbon cycle. This climate warming feedback produces large-scale eutrophication on the continental shelf, which, in turn, expands oxygen minimum zones by increased respiration, which can turn to a sulfidic state by increased microbial-sulfate reduction due to increased availability of organic matter. A plankton community turnover from a high-diversity eukaryote to high-biomass bacterial dominated food web is the catalyst proposed in this anoxia-extinction scenario and stands in stark contrast to the postulated productivity collapse suggested for the end-Cretaceous mass extinction. This cascade of events is relevant for the future ocean under predicted greenhouse driven climate change. The exacerbation of anoxic “dead” zones is already progressing in modern oceanic environments, and this is likely to increase due to climate induced continental weathering and resulting eutrophication of the oceans. PMID:27066181

  3. Comet showers as a cause of mass extinction

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Hut, Piet; Alvarez, Walter; Elder, William P.; Kauffman, Erle G.; Hansen, Thor; Keller, Gerta; Shoemaker, Eugene M.; Weissman, Paul R.

    1987-01-01

    Three independent pieces of evidence supporting a connection between comet showers and clustering in terrestrial cratering and mass extinctions are presented. The temporal profile of a comet shower triggered by a star passing through the Oort cloud is calculated. Four weak peaks are found in the age of distribution of impact craters over the past 100 Myr, as well as two compact clusters of ages of impact glass broadly coincident with crater-age peaks. Recent paleontological observations are reviewed that indicate a stepwise character for some well-documented mass extinctions in the past 100 Myr which roughly coincide with three of the four peaks in crater ages and which have a duration compatible with comet shower predictions.

  4. Molluscan extinction patterns across the Cenomanian-Turonian stage boundary in the western interior of the United States

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Elder, W.P.

    1989-01-01

    High-resolution stratigraphic analysis of 18 sections spanning the Cenomanian-Turonian Stage boundary in the western interior of the United States has allowed determination of the magnitude and pattern of molluscan extinction and disruption. Composite range data from all sections show that the faunal turnover across the stage boundary occurs in a series of narrow stratigraphic zones, defined by multiple first and last occurrences, separated by intervals displaying little or no taxonomic turnover. Two of the apparent extinction steps (bottom and top of the Neocardioceras juddii Zone) may be intercontinentally developed. The additional steps apparently reflect cyclic changes in water mass and substrate characteristics in the western interior basin produced in response to orbital forcing of climate. The most affected mollusks were those having intercontinental distributions. -Author

  5. Synchrony between the Chicxulub impact and the Cretaceous-Paleogene boundary extinctions: What does it mean?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Renne, P. R.

    2013-05-01

    Recent 40Ar/39Ar work demonstrates coincidence to within 33 ka of tektites from Beloc (Haiti) and the Cretaceous-Paleogene boundary (KPB) recorded in terrestrial sediments in northeastern Montana. Here the KPB coincides with impact signals such as an iridium anomaly and shocked quartz. The tektites, which occur with other impact signals, have been linked by various criteria to a single impact at the Chicxulub crater, although some interpretations suggest that there were multiple impacts and/or the Chicxulub impact predated the KPB by ca. 300 ka. The terrestrial and marine KPB are defined by different taxa, and it is conceivable that they were diachronous. This however would require two distinct impacts, only one of which is ever manifest in low energy depositional settings- which seems highly improbable. Speculation along these lines is a distraction from the critical issue of whether or not the pre-KPB record of rapid climate change and extinctions, especially evident in terrestrial environments, implicates the impact as merely the coup de grace in an already critically stressed biosphere. Early eruptions of the Deccan Traps remain a viable mechanism for pre-impact environmental stress, particularly in view of the well established relationship between other continental flood basalts and mass extinctions.

  6. Periodic Comet Showers, Mass Extinctions, and the Galaxy

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Rampino, M. R.; Stothers, R. B.

    2000-01-01

    Geologic data on mass extinctions of life and evidence of large impacts on the Earth are thus far consistent with a quasi-periodic modulation of the flux of Oort cloud comets. Impacts of large comets and asteroids are capable of causing mass extinction of species, and the records of large impact craters and mass show a correlation. Impacts and extinctions display periods in the range of approximately 31 +/- 5 m.y., depending on dating methods, published time scales, length of record, and number of events analyzed. Statistical studies show that observed differences in the formal periodicity of extinctions and craters are to be expected, taking into consideration problems in dating and the likelihood that both records would be mixtures of periodic and random events. These results could be explained by quasi-periodic showers of Oort Cloud comets with a similar cycle. The best candidate for a pacemaker for comet showers is the Sun's vertical oscillation through the plane of the Galaxy, with a half-period over the last 250 million years in the same range. We originally suggested that the probability of encounters with molecular clouds that could perturb the Oort comet cloud and cause comet showers is modulated by the Sun's vertical motion through the galactic disk. Tidal forces produced by the overall gravitational field of the Galaxy can also cause perturbations of cometary orbits. Since these forces vary with the changing position of the solar system in the Galaxy, they provide a mechanism for the periodic variation in the flux of Oort cloud comets into the inner solar system. The cycle time and degree of modulation depend critically on the mass distribution in the galactic disk. Additional information is contained in the original extended abstract.

  7. Mass Extinction and the Structure of the Milky Way

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Filipovic, M. D.; Horner, J.; Crawford, E. J.; Tothill, N. F. H.; White, G. L.

    2013-12-01

    We use the most up-to-date Milky Way model and solar orbit data in order to test the hypothesis that the Sun's galactic spiral arm crossings cause mass extinction events on Earth. To do this, we created a new model of the Milky Way's spiral arms by combining a large quantity of data from several surveys. We then combined this model with a recently derived solution for the solar orbit to determine the timing of the Sun's historical passages through the Galaxy's spiral arms. Our new model was designed with a symmetrical appearance, with the major alteration being the addition of a spur at the far side of the Galaxy. A correlation was found between the times at which the Sun crosses the spiral arms and six known mass extinction events. Furthermore, we identify five additional historical mass extinction events that might be explained by the motion of the Sun around our Galaxy. These five additional significant drops in marine genera that we find include significant reductions in diversity at 415, 322, 300, 145 and 33~Myr ago. Our simulations indicate that the Sun has spent ˜60 per cent of its time passing through our Galaxy's various spiral arms. Also, we briefly discuss and combine previous work on the Galactic Habitable Zone with the new Milky Way model.

  8. Asteroid/comet impact clusters, flood basalts and mass extinctions: Significance of isotopic age overlaps

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Glikson, Andrew

    2005-08-01

    Morgan et al. [J. Phipps Morgan, T.J. Reston, C.R. Ranero. Earth Planet. Sci. Lett. 217 (2004) 263-284.], referring to an overlap between the isotopic ages of volcanic events and four epoch/stage extinction boundaries, suggest a dominant role of Continental Flood Basalts (CFB) and of explosive CO 2-rich volcanic pipes ("Verneshots") as mass extinction triggers. Here I point out that Morgan et al. overlook 3 overlaps between the ages of extraterrestrial impacts, volcanic and mass extinction events, and 3 overlaps between the ages of extraterrestrial impact and volcanic events. These overlaps suggest that both extraterrestrial impacts and volcanism served as extinction triggers separately or in combination. A protracted impact cluster overlaps extinctions at the end-Devonian (˜374-359 Ma) and impact-extinction age overlaps occur in the end-Jurassic (˜145-142 Ma), Aptian (˜125-112 Ma); Cenomanian-Turonian (˜95-94 Ma); K-T boundary (˜65.5 Ma) and mid-Miocene (˜16 Ma) ( Table 1). Morgan et al. appear to question the uniqueness of shock metamorphic and geochemical criteria used to identify asteroid/comet impacts. However, shock pressures at 8-35 GPa, indicated by intra-crystalline planar deformation features (PDF), exceed lithospheric and volcanic explosion pressures by an order of magnitude and are not known to be associated with explosive volcanic diatremes, kimberlites or lamproites. These authors make reference to apparent iridium anomalies of volcanic origin. However, platinum group element (PGE) abundance levels, volatile/refractory PGE ratios, and Cr and Os isotopes of meteoritic materials are clearly distinct from those of terrestrial volcanics. Given a Phanerozoic time-integrated oceanic/continent crustal ratio > 2.5 and the difficulty in identifying oceanic impacts, I suggest the effects of large impacts on thin thermally active oceanic crust-capable of triggering regional to global mafic volcanic events and ensuing environmental effects-provide an

  9. Chicxulub Impact and K-T Mass Extinction in Mexico and Texas

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Keller, G.; Adatte, T.; Berner, Z.; Stueben, D.

    2007-05-01

    New cores and outcrops from El Penon, NE Mexico, and the Brazos River, Falls County, Texas, reveal the stratigraphic and temporal separation between the Chicxulub impact, the sandstone complex (commonly interpreted as "impact-tsunami") and the K-T mass extinction. In NE Mexico, where deposition occurred in about 500 m water depth, the original Chicxulub impact ejecta was discovered in a 1.8 m thick impact glass spherule layer within undisturbed pelagic marls more than 4 m below the base of the sandstone complex. At Brazos, Texas, where deposition occurred in shallow waters (20-80 m), the original spherule ejecta layer was found in a 3 cm thick clay-altered impact spherule layer within undisturbed late Maastrichtian claystones, about 60 cm below the sandstone complex. In both localities, the base of the sandstone complex contains spherules and clasts from shallow nearshore areas, which were eroded from the original impact spherule layer and transported into deeper waters during the latest Maastrichtian sea level lowstand. The K-T mass extinction and Ir anomaly occurred at a much later time. The Chicxulub impact is dated at 300 ky before the K-T boundary and the sea level lowstand about 100 ky before. These data reveal that the K-T mass extinction was not directly related to either the Chicxulub impact, or the sea level lowstand. The discovery of the original Chicxulub impact ejecta spherule layer in Mexico and Texas permits evaluation of the biotic effects of this large impact upon marine faunas and floras in both deep and shallow water environments at 1000 km and 1700 km from the impact crater, respectively. Quantitative analysis of planktic foraminifera reveals a major surprise: No species extinctions or significant species population changes occurred at the time of the Chicxulub impact. The impact coincides with greenhouse warming associated with Deccan volcanism, but appears to have caused no significant environmental stress even within 1000 km, let alone

  10. Can we avoid the Sixth Mass Extinction? Setting today's extinction crisis in the context of the Big Five

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Barnosky, A. D.

    2012-12-01

    While the ultimate extinction driver now—Homo sapiens—is unique with respect to the drivers of past extinctions, comparison of parallel neontological and paleontological information helps calibrate how far the so-called Sixth Mass Extinction has progressed and whether it is inevitable. Such comparisons document that rates of extinction today are approaching or exceeding those that characterized the Big Five Mass Extinctions. Continuation of present extinction rates for vertebrates, for example, would result in 75% species loss—the minimum benchmark exhibited in the Big Five extinctions—within 3 to 22 centuries, assuming constant rates of loss and no threshold effects. Preceding and during each of the Big Five, the global ecosystem experienced major changes in climate, atmospheric chemisty, and ocean chemistry—not unlike what is being observed presently. Nevertheless, only 1-2% of well-assessed modern species have been lost over the past five centuries, still far below what characterized past mass extinctions in the strict paleontological sense. For mammals, adding in the end-Pleistocene species that died out would increase the species-loss percentage by some 5%. If threatened vertebrate species were to actually go extinct, losses would rise to between 14 and 40%, depending on the group. Such observations highlight that, although many species have already had their populations drastically reduced to near-critical levels, the Sixth Mass Extinction has not yet progressed to the point where it is unavoidable. Put another way, the vast majority of species that have occupied the world in concert with Homo sapiens are still alive and are possible to save. That task, however, will require slowing the abnormally high extinction rates that are now in progress, which in turn requires unified efforts to cap human population growth, decrease the average human footprint, reduce fossil fuel use while simultaneously increasing clean energy technologies, integrate

  11. Rebuilding Biodiversity of Patagonian Marine Molluscs after the End-Cretaceous Mass Extinction

    PubMed Central

    Aberhan, Martin; Kiessling, Wolfgang

    2014-01-01

    We analysed field-collected quantitative data of benthic marine molluscs across the Cretaceous–Palaeogene boundary in Patagonia to identify patterns and processes of biodiversity reconstruction after the end-Cretaceous mass extinction. We contrast diversity dynamics from nearshore environments with those from offshore environments. In both settings, Early Palaeogene (Danian) assemblages are strongly dominated by surviving lineages, many of which changed their relative abundance from being rare before the extinction event to becoming the new dominant forms. Only a few of the species in the Danian assemblages were newly evolved. In offshore environments, however, two newly evolved Danian bivalve species attained ecological dominance by replacing two ecologically equivalent species that disappeared at the end of the Cretaceous. In both settings, the total number of Danian genera at a locality remained below the total number of late Cretaceous (Maastrichtian) genera at that locality. We suggest that biotic interactions, in particular incumbency effects, suppressed post-extinction diversity and prevented the compensation of diversity loss by originating and invading taxa. Contrary to the total number of genera at localities, diversity at the level of individual fossiliferous horizons before and after the boundary is indistinguishable in offshore environments. This indicates an evolutionary rapid rebound to pre-extinction values within less than ca 0.5 million years. In nearshore environments, by contrast, diversity of fossiliferous horizons was reduced in the Danian, and this lowered diversity lasted for the entire studied post-extinction interval. In this heterogeneous environment, low connectivity among populations may have retarded the recolonisation of nearshore habitats by survivors. PMID:25028930

  12. Using Ichthyoliths to Determine the Fish Response to the End-Cretaceous Mass Extinction

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sibert, E. C.; Norris, R. D.; Hull, P. M.

    2012-12-01

    Ichthyoliths are the small calcium phosphate fossil teeth, scales, and bone shards of fish and sharks. While it is extremely rare to find full body-fossils of fish, ichthyoliths are relatively abundant in oceanic sediments, with 10s to 100s of identifiable ichthyoliths in a few grams of sediment, most in the <100 μm size fraction. Ichthyolith accumulation rates and morphology, alone or in conjunction with more traditional microfossil and geochemical proxies, can be used to study the response of pelagic consumers and ecosystems to major events in Earth's history. As the only available high-resolution, continuous fossil record of vertebrates, ichthyoliths can be extremely valuable in understanding how higher order organisms respond to environmental forcing. Here we use this novel proxy to show that export flux of ichthyoliths to the deep North Pacific was stable across the K-Pg boundary despite major changes in flux of calcareous phytoplankton and foraminifera. Total consumer-level export production in the North Pacific remained at or above Cretaceous levels for at least 4 million years post-extinction. Similar studies across the extinction from the South Pacific and the Atlantic suggest that there is considerable regional geographic variation in the accumulation of ichthyoliths spanning the boundary, with the Pacific small fish seeming to fare better than their Atlantic counterparts in the post-extinction ecosystem. The regional differences in productivity of these post-disaster ecosystems suggest that the mass extinction did not produce a uniformly dead or microbially dominated surface ocean. Rather, despite widespread extinction and upheaval in lower trophic levels, the earliest Paleocene ocean, in some regions of the planet, appears to have had ecosystems capable of supporting levels of fish comparable to or even above those of the Late Cretaceous.

  13. Mid Pleistocene foraminiferal mass extinction coupled with phytoplankton evolution

    PubMed Central

    Kender, Sev; McClymont, Erin L.; Elmore, Aurora C.; Emanuele, Dario; Leng, Melanie J.; Elderfield, Henry

    2016-01-01

    Understanding the interaction between climate and biotic evolution is crucial for deciphering the sensitivity of life. An enigmatic mass extinction occurred in the deep oceans during the Mid Pleistocene, with a loss of over 100 species (20%) of sea floor calcareous foraminifera. An evolutionarily conservative group, benthic foraminifera often comprise >50% of eukaryote biomass on the deep-ocean floor. Here we test extinction hypotheses (temperature, corrosiveness and productivity) in the Tasman Sea, using geochemistry and micropalaeontology, and find evidence from several globally distributed sites that the extinction was caused by a change in phytoplankton food source. Coccolithophore evolution may have enhanced the seasonal ‘bloom' nature of primary productivity and fundamentally shifted it towards a more intra-annually variable state at ∼0.8 Ma. Our results highlight intra-annual variability as a potential new consideration for Mid Pleistocene global biogeochemical climate models, and imply that deep-sea biota may be sensitive to future changes in productivity. PMID:27311937

  14. Mid Pleistocene foraminiferal mass extinction coupled with phytoplankton evolution.

    PubMed

    Kender, Sev; McClymont, Erin L; Elmore, Aurora C; Emanuele, Dario; Leng, Melanie J; Elderfield, Henry

    2016-01-01

    Understanding the interaction between climate and biotic evolution is crucial for deciphering the sensitivity of life. An enigmatic mass extinction occurred in the deep oceans during the Mid Pleistocene, with a loss of over 100 species (20%) of sea floor calcareous foraminifera. An evolutionarily conservative group, benthic foraminifera often comprise >50% of eukaryote biomass on the deep-ocean floor. Here we test extinction hypotheses (temperature, corrosiveness and productivity) in the Tasman Sea, using geochemistry and micropalaeontology, and find evidence from several globally distributed sites that the extinction was caused by a change in phytoplankton food source. Coccolithophore evolution may have enhanced the seasonal 'bloom' nature of primary productivity and fundamentally shifted it towards a more intra-annually variable state at ∼0.8 Ma. Our results highlight intra-annual variability as a potential new consideration for Mid Pleistocene global biogeochemical climate models, and imply that deep-sea biota may be sensitive to future changes in productivity. PMID:27311937

  15. Surviving mass extinction by bridging the benthic/planktic divide

    PubMed Central

    Darling, Kate F.; Thomas, Ellen; Kasemann, Simone A.; Seears, Heidi A.; Smart, Christopher W.; Wade, Christopher M.

    2009-01-01

    Evolution of planktic organisms from benthic ancestors is commonly thought to represent unidirectional expansion into new ecological domains, possibly only once per clade. For foraminifera, this evolutionary expansion occurred in the Early–Middle Jurassic, and all living and extinct planktic foraminifera have been placed within 1 clade, the Suborder Globigerinina. The subsequent radiation of planktic foraminifera in the Jurassic and Cretaceous resulted in highly diverse assemblages, which suffered mass extinction at the end of the Cretaceous, leaving an impoverished assemblage dominated by microperforate triserial and biserial forms. The few survivor species radiated to form diverse assemblages once again in the Cenozoic. There have, however, long been doubts regarding the monophyletic origin of planktic foraminifera. We present surprising but conclusive genetic evidence that the Recent biserial planktic Streptochilus globigerus belongs to the same biological species as the benthic Bolivina variabilis, and geochemical evidence that this ecologically flexible species actively grows within the open-ocean surface waters, thus occupying both planktic and benthic domains. Such a lifestyle (tychopelagic) had not been recognized as adapted by foraminifera. Tychopelagic are endowed with great ecological advantage, enabling rapid recolonization of the extinction-susceptible pelagic domain from the benthos. We argue that the existence of such forms must be considered in resolving foraminiferal phylogeny. PMID:19574452

  16. Atmospheric methane injection caused end-Triassic mass extinction

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ruhl, Micha; Bonis, Nina R.; Reichart, Gert-Jan; Sinninghe Damsté, Jaap S.; Kürschner, Wolfram M.

    2010-05-01

    The end-Triassic mass extinction (~201.5 Ma), marked by major terrestrial ecosystem changes and a 50% loss in marine biodiversity, coincides with a distinct negative perturbation in marine C-isotope records. These events have been attributed to the onset of intensified volcanic activity in the Central Atlantic Magmatic Province (CAMP), the largest igneous province on earth. However, global carbon cycle disruption has been questioned due to varying magnitudes of the observed negative excursion between different sedimentary basins. Here, we present compound specific C-isotope data of long-chain n-alkanes derived from waxes of land plants, showing a ~8.5‰ negative excursion coincident with the extinction interval. These data suggest strong 13C depletion of the end-Triassic atmosphere, within 10-20 kyr. The magnitude and rate of C-cycle disruption can only be explained by the injection of ~12x103 Gt of isotopically depleted carbon from the methane-hydrate reservoir. Concurrent vegetation changes reflect strong warming and an enhanced hydrological cycle. Hence the end-Triassic extinction is, for the first time, mechanistically linked to massive carbon release and associated climate change.

  17. 2MASS wide-field extinction maps. V. Corona Australis

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Alves, João; Lombardi, Marco; Lada, Charles J.

    2014-05-01

    We present a near-infrared extinction map of a large region (~870 deg2) covering the isolated Corona Australis complex of molecular clouds. We reach a 1-σ error of 0.02 mag in the K-band extinction with a resolution of 3 arcmin over the entire map. We find that the Corona Australis cloud is about three times as large as revealed by previous CO and dust emission surveys. The cloud consists of a 45 pc long complex of filamentary structure from the well known star forming Western-end (the head, N ≥ 1023 cm-2) to the diffuse Eastern-end (the tail, N ≤ 1021 cm-2). Remarkably, about two thirds of the complex both in size and mass lie beneath AV ~ 1 mag. We find that the probability density function (PDF) of the cloud cannot be described by a single log-normal function. Similar to prior studies, we found a significant excess at high column densities, but a log-normal + power-law tail fit does not work well at low column densities. We show that at low column densities near the peak of the observed PDF, both the amplitude and shape of the PDF are dominated by noise in the extinction measurements making it impractical to derive the intrinsic cloud PDF below AK < 0.15 mag. Above AK ~ 0.15 mag, essentially the molecular component of the cloud, the PDF appears to be best described by a power-law with index -3, but could also described as the tail of a broad and relatively low amplitude, log-normal PDF that peaks at very low column densities. FITS files of the extinction maps are only available at the CDS via anonymous ftp to http://cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr (ftp://130.79.128.5) or via http://cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr/viz-bin/qcat?J/A+A/565/A18

  18. Eutherians experienced elevated evolutionary rates in the immediate aftermath of the Cretaceous–Palaeogene mass extinction

    PubMed Central

    Upchurch, Paul; Goswami, Anjali

    2016-01-01

    The effect of the Cretaceous–Palaeogene (K–Pg) mass extinction on the evolution of many groups, including placental mammals, has been hotly debated. The fossil record suggests a sudden adaptive radiation of placentals immediately after the event, but several recent quantitative analyses have reconstructed no significant increase in either clade origination rates or rates of character evolution in the Palaeocene. Here we use stochastic methods to date a recent phylogenetic analysis of Cretaceous and Palaeocene mammals and show that Placentalia likely originated in the Late Cretaceous, but that most intraordinal diversification occurred during the earliest Palaeocene. This analysis reconstructs fewer than 10 placental mammal lineages crossing the K–Pg boundary. Moreover, we show that rates of morphological evolution in the 5 Myr interval immediately after the K–Pg mass extinction are three times higher than background rates during the Cretaceous. These results suggest that the K–Pg mass extinction had a marked impact on placental mammal diversification, supporting the view that an evolutionary radiation occurred as placental lineages invaded new ecological niches during the Early Palaeocene. PMID:27358361

  19. Eutherians experienced elevated evolutionary rates in the immediate aftermath of the Cretaceous-Palaeogene mass extinction.

    PubMed

    Halliday, Thomas John Dixon; Upchurch, Paul; Goswami, Anjali

    2016-06-29

    The effect of the Cretaceous-Palaeogene (K-Pg) mass extinction on the evolution of many groups, including placental mammals, has been hotly debated. The fossil record suggests a sudden adaptive radiation of placentals immediately after the event, but several recent quantitative analyses have reconstructed no significant increase in either clade origination rates or rates of character evolution in the Palaeocene. Here we use stochastic methods to date a recent phylogenetic analysis of Cretaceous and Palaeocene mammals and show that Placentalia likely originated in the Late Cretaceous, but that most intraordinal diversification occurred during the earliest Palaeocene. This analysis reconstructs fewer than 10 placental mammal lineages crossing the K-Pg boundary. Moreover, we show that rates of morphological evolution in the 5 Myr interval immediately after the K-Pg mass extinction are three times higher than background rates during the Cretaceous. These results suggest that the K-Pg mass extinction had a marked impact on placental mammal diversification, supporting the view that an evolutionary radiation occurred as placental lineages invaded new ecological niches during the Early Palaeocene. PMID:27358361

  20. Comparative Earth history and Late Permian mass extinction

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Knoll, A. H.; Bambach, R. K.; Canfield, D. E.; Grotzinger, J. P.

    1996-01-01

    The repeated association during the late Neoproterozoic Era of large carbon-isotopic excursions, continental glaciation, and stratigraphically anomalous carbonate precipitation provides a framework for interpreting the reprise of these conditions on the Late Permian Earth. A paleoceanographic model that was developed to explain these stratigraphically linked phenomena suggests that the overturn of anoxic deep oceans during the Late Permian introduced high concentrations of carbon dioxide into surficial environments. The predicted physiological and climatic consequences for marine and terrestrial organisms are in good accord with the observed timing and selectivity of Late Permian mass extinction.

  1. Comparative earth history and late Premian mass extinction

    SciTech Connect

    Knoll, A.H.; Bambach, R.K.; Canfield, D.E.; Grotzinger, J.P.

    1996-07-26

    The repeated association during the late Neoproterozoic Era of large carbon-isotopic excursions, continental glaciation, and stratigraphically anomalous carbonate precipitation provides a framework for interpreting the reprise of these conditions on the Late Permian Earth. A paleoceanographic model that was developed to explain these stratigraphically linked phenomena suggests that the overturn of anoxic deep oceans during the Late Permian introduced high concentrations of carbon dioxide into surficial environments. The predicted physiological and climatic consequences for marine and terrestrial organisms are in good accord with the observed timing and selectivity of Late Permian mass extinction. 65 refs., 3 figs., 1 tab.

  2. Assessing the Role of Anhydrite in the KT Mass Extinction: Hints from Shock-loading Experiments

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Skala, R.; Lnagenhorst, F.; Hoerz, F.

    2004-01-01

    Various killing mechanisms have been suggested to contribute to the mass extinctions at the KT boundary, including severe, global deterioration of the atmosphere and hydrosphere due to SO(x) released from heavily shocked, sulfate-bearing target rocks. The devolatilization of anhydrite is predominantly inferred from thermodynamic considerations and lacks experimental confirmation. To date, the experimentally determined shock behavior of anhydrite is limited to solid-state effects employing X-ray diffraction methods. The present report employs additional methods to characterize experimentally shocked anhydrite.

  3. Earth history. U-Pb geochronology of the Deccan Traps and relation to the end-Cretaceous mass extinction.

    PubMed

    Schoene, Blair; Samperton, Kyle M; Eddy, Michael P; Keller, Gerta; Adatte, Thierry; Bowring, Samuel A; Khadri, Syed F R; Gertsch, Brian

    2015-01-01

    The Chicxulub asteroid impact (Mexico) and the eruption of the massive Deccan volcanic province (India) are two proposed causes of the end-Cretaceous mass extinction, which includes the demise of nonavian dinosaurs. Despite widespread acceptance of the impact hypothesis, the lack of a high-resolution eruption timeline for the Deccan basalts has prevented full assessment of their relationship to the mass extinction. Here we apply uranium-lead (U-Pb) zircon geochronology to Deccan rocks and show that the main phase of eruptions initiated ~250,000 years before the Cretaceous-Paleogene boundary and that >1.1 million cubic kilometers of basalt erupted in ~750,000 years. Our results are consistent with the hypothesis that the Deccan Traps contributed to the latest Cretaceous environmental change and biologic turnover that culminated in the marine and terrestrial mass extinctions. PMID:25502315

  4. U-Pb geochronology of the Deccan Traps and relation to the end-Cretaceous mass extinction

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Schoene, Blair; Samperton, Kyle M.; Eddy, Michael P.; Keller, Gerta; Adatte, Thierry; Bowring, Samuel A.; Khadri, Syed F. R.; Gertsch, Brian

    2015-01-01

    The Chicxulub asteroid impact (Mexico) and the eruption of the massive Deccan volcanic province (India) are two proposed causes of the end-Cretaceous mass extinction, which includes the demise of nonavian dinosaurs. Despite widespread acceptance of the impact hypothesis, the lack of a high-resolution eruption timeline for the Deccan basalts has prevented full assessment of their relationship to the mass extinction. Here we apply uranium-lead (U-Pb) zircon geochronology to Deccan rocks and show that the main phase of eruptions initiated ~250,000 years before the Cretaceous-Paleogene boundary and that >1.1 million cubic kilometers of basalt erupted in ~750,000 years. Our results are consistent with the hypothesis that the Deccan Traps contributed to the latest Cretaceous environmental change and biologic turnover that culminated in the marine and terrestrial mass extinctions.

  5. A Unified Theory of Impact Crises and Mass Extinctions: Quantitative Tests

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Rampino, Michael R.; Haggerty, Bruce M.; Pagano, Thomas C.

    1997-01-01

    Several quantitative tests of a general hypothesis linking impacts of large asteroids and comets with mass extinctions of life are possible based on astronomical data, impact dynamics, and geological information. The waiting of large-body impacts on the Earth derive from the flux of Earth-crossing asteroids and comets, and the estimated size of impacts capable of causing large-scale environmental disasters, predict that impacts of objects greater than or equal to 5 km in diameter (greater than or equal to 10 (exp 7) Mt TNT equivalent) could be sufficient to explain the record of approximately 25 extinction pulses in the last 540 Myr, with the 5 recorded major mass extinctions related to impacts of the largest objects of greater than or equal to 10 km in diameter (greater than or equal to 10(exp 8) Mt Events). Smaller impacts (approximately 10 (exp 6) Mt), with significant regional environmental effects, could be responsible for the lesser boundaries in the geologic record.

  6. Isotopic evidence bearing on Late Triassic extinction events, Queen Charlotte Islands, British Columbia, and implications for the duration and cause of the Triassic/Jurassic mass extinction

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Ward, P.D.; Garrison, G.H.; Haggart, J.W.; Kring, D.A.; Beattie, M.J.

    2004-01-01

    Stable isotope analyses of Late Triassic to earliest Jurassic strata from Kennecott Point in the Queen Charlotte Islands, British Columbia, Canada shows the presence of two distinct and different organic carbon isotope anomalies at the Norian/Rhaetian and Rhaetian/Hettangian (=Triassic/Jurassic) stage boundaries. At the older of these boundaries, which is marked by the disappearance of the bivalve Monotis, the isotope record shows a series of short-lived positive excursions toward heavier values. Strata approaching this boundary show evidence of increasing anoxia. At the higher boundary, marked by the disappearance of the last remaining Triassic ammonites and over 50 species of radiolarians, the isotopic pattern consists of a series of short duration negative anomalies. The two events, separated by the duration of the Rhaetian age, comprise the end-Triassic mass extinction. While there is no definitive evidence as to cause, the isotopic record does not appear similar to that of the impact-caused Cretaceous/Tertiary boundary extinction. ?? 2004 Published by Elsevier B.V.

  7. Volcanism, Impacts and Mass Extinctions: A case study of the Deccan Traps and its global effects

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Keller, G.

    2012-12-01

    The nature and causes of mass extinctions in the geological past have remained topics of intense scientific debate for the past three decades. Central to this debate is the question of whether one, or several large bolide impacts, the eruption of large igneous provinces (LIP) or a combination of the two were the primary mechanisms driving the environmental changes that are universally regarded as the proximate causes for four of the five major Phanerozoic extinction events. Recent years have seen a revolution in our understanding of interplanetary environments, LIP eruptions and their environmental effects such that the simple impact-kill scenario no longer seems an adequate explanation for the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary (KTB) or any other mass extinction. The KTB is the only mass extinction associated with both impact (Chixculub) and flood basalts (Deccan Traps) and therefore an excellent case study to evaluate the potential causes and effects. Deccan eruptions likely occurred as "pulses", with some gigantic megaflows 1500 km across India and with estimated volumes >10,000 km3 that may have erupted over very short time intervals. For comparison, the largest historical basalt eruption in 1783 in Iceland (Laki) ejected some 15 km3 of lava in about a year. A single Deccan megaflow would have been equivalent to 667 Laki. The vast amount of carbon and sulphur dioxides injected into the atmosphere from just one Deccan megaflow would have been on the same order of magnitude as those estimated for the Chicxulub impact. Deccan Traps erupted in three main phases with 6% total Deccan volume in phase-1 (base C30n), 80% in phase-2 (C29r) and 14% in phase-3 (C29n). Phase-2 and phase-3 each produced four giant megaflows leading to the KTB mass extinction and the long delayed biotic recovery, respectively. Data from infra- and intertrappean sediments of these megaflows drilled in the Krishna-Godavari Basin by India's Oil and Natural Gas Corporation reveal swift and devastating

  8. Periodic mass extinctions and the Planet X model reconsidered

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Whitmire, Daniel P.

    2016-01-01

    The 27 Myr period in the fossil extinction record has been confirmed in modern data bases dating back 500 Myr, which is twice the time interval of the original analysis from 30 years ago. The surprising regularity of this period has been used to reject the Nemesis model. A second model based on the Sun's vertical Galactic oscillations has been challenged on the basis of an inconsistency in period and phasing. The third astronomical model originally proposed to explain the periodicity is the Planet X model in which the period is associated with the perihelion precession of the inclined orbit of a trans-Neptunian planet. Recently, and unrelated to mass extinctions, a trans-Neptunian super-Earth planet has been proposed to explain the observation that the inner Oort cloud objects Sedna and 2012VP113 have perihelia that lie near the ecliptic plane. In this Letter, we reconsider the Planet X model in light of the confluence of the modern palaeontological and outer Solar system dynamical evidence.

  9. Biotic replacement and mass extinction of the Ediacara biota

    PubMed Central

    Darroch, Simon A. F.; Sperling, Erik A.; Boag, Thomas H.; Racicot, Rachel A.; Mason, Sara J.; Morgan, Alex S.; Tweedt, Sarah; Myrow, Paul; Johnston, David T.; Erwin, Douglas H.; Laflamme, Marc

    2015-01-01

    The latest Neoproterozoic extinction of the Ediacara biota has been variously attributed to catastrophic removal by perturbations to global geochemical cycles, ‘biotic replacement’ by Cambrian-type ecosystem engineers, and a taphonomic artefact. We perform the first critical test of the ‘biotic replacement’ hypothesis using combined palaeoecological and geochemical data collected from the youngest Ediacaran strata in southern Namibia. We find that, even after accounting for a variety of potential sampling and taphonomic biases, the Ediacaran assemblage preserved at Farm Swartpunt has significantly lower genus richness than older assemblages. Geochemical and sedimentological analyses confirm an oxygenated and non-restricted palaeoenvironment for fossil-bearing sediments, thus suggesting that oxygen stress and/or hypersalinity are unlikely to be responsible for the low diversity of communities preserved at Swartpunt. These combined analyses suggest depauperate communities characterized the latest Ediacaran and provide the first quantitative support for the biotic replacement model for the end of the Ediacara biota. Although more sites (especially those recording different palaeoenvironments) are undoubtedly needed, this study provides the first quantitative palaeoecological evidence to suggest that evolutionary innovation, ecosystem engineering and biological interactions may have ultimately caused the first mass extinction of complex life. PMID:26336166

  10. Atmospheric carbon injection linked to end-Triassic mass extinction.

    PubMed

    Ruhl, Micha; Bonis, Nina R; Reichart, Gert-Jan; Sinninghe Damsté, Jaap S; Kürschner, Wolfram M

    2011-07-22

    The end-Triassic mass extinction (~201.4 million years ago), marked by terrestrial ecosystem turnover and up to ~50% loss in marine biodiversity, has been attributed to intensified volcanic activity during the break-up of Pangaea. Here, we present compound-specific carbon-isotope data of long-chain n-alkanes derived from waxes of land plants, showing a ~8.5 per mil negative excursion, coincident with the extinction interval. These data indicate strong carbon-13 depletion of the end-Triassic atmosphere, within only 10,000 to 20,000 years. The magnitude and rate of this carbon-cycle disruption can be explained by the injection of at least ~12 × 10(3) gigatons of isotopically depleted carbon as methane into the atmosphere. Concurrent vegetation changes reflect strong warming and an enhanced hydrological cycle. Hence, end-Triassic events are robustly linked to methane-derived massive carbon release and associated climate change. PMID:21778394

  11. Volcanism as the cause for the Triassic-Jurassic mass-extinction? Progress of the CoBi workgroup

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Deenen, M. H.; Bonis, N. R.; Ruhl, M.; Kürschner, W. M.; Krijgsman, W.; Reitsma, M.; van Bergen, M. J.; Chellai, E.

    2008-12-01

    The Triassic-Jurassic mass-extinction (200 Ma), one of the most severe of the Phanerozoic with 50% marine genera loss, coincides with a period of extensive volcanism related to the initial break-up of Pangaea. A causal relationship, however, is still debated since the North American basalt units are always found above a major palynological turnover. In addition there is no conclusive correlation with marine sections where the mass extinction coincides with two distinct negative carbon-isotope shifts preceding the first Jurassic ammonites. Here we develop an accurate time-frame for the Triassic-Jurassic boundary events by integrating astrochronology and geobiology and we show that the onset of volcanism is most likely responsible for the major turnover in palynology, a modest anomaly in Iridium, a major perturbation in the carbon-isotopes values and the extinction events recorded in conodonts and terrestrial vertebrates

  12. Biospheric Effects of the Chicxulub Impact and Their Role in the Cretaceous/Tertiary Mass Extinction

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Pope, Kevin O.

    1997-01-01

    A comprehensive analysis of volatiles in the Chicxulub impact strongly supports the hypothesis that impact-generated sulfate aerosols caused over a decade of global cooling, acid rain, and disruption of ocean circulation, which contributed to the mass extinction at the Cretaceous/Tertiary (K/T) boundary. The crater size, meteoritic content of the K/T boundary clay, and impact models indicate that the Chicxulub crater was formed by a short period comet or an asteroid impact that released 0.7-3.4 x 10(exp 31) ergs of energy. Impact models and experiments combined with estimates of volatiles in the projectile and target rocks predict that over 200 gigatons (Gt) each of SO2 and water vapor, and over 500 Gt of CO2, were globally distributed in the stratosphere by the impact.

  13. Stress-enhanced fear learning in rats is resistant to the effects of immediate massed extinction

    PubMed Central

    Long, Virginia A.; Fanselow, Michael S.

    2014-01-01

    Enhanced fear learning occurs subsequent to traumatic or stressful events and is a persistent challenge to the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Facilitation of learning produced by prior stress can elicit an exaggerated fear response to a minimally aversive event or stimulus. Stress-enhanced fear learning (SEFL) is a rat model of PTSD; rats previously exposed to the SEFL 15 electrical shocks procedure exhibit several behavioral responses similar to those seen in patients with PTSD. However, past reports found that SEFL is not mitigated by extinction (a model of exposure therapy) when the spaced extinction began 24 h after stress. Recent studies found that extinction from 10 min to 1 h subsequent to fear conditioning “erased” learning, whereas later extinction, occurring from 24 to 72 h after conditioning did not. Other studies indicate that massed extinction is more effective than spaced procedures. Therefore, we examined the time-dependent nature of extinction on the stress-induced enhancement of fear learning using a massed trial’s procedure. Experimental rats received 15 foot shocks and were given either no extinction or massed extinction 10 min or 72 h later. Our present data indicate that SEFL, following traumatic stress, is resistant to immediate massed extinction. Experimental rats showed exaggerated new fear learning regardless of when extinction training occurred. Thus, post-traumatic reactivity such as SEFL does not seem responsive to extinction treatments. PMID:22176467

  14. The Lilliput effect in colonial organisms: cheilostome bryozoans at the Cretaceous-Paleogene mass extinction.

    PubMed

    Sogot, Caroline E; Harper, Elizabeth M; Taylor, Paul D

    2014-01-01

    Consistent trends towards decreasing body size in the aftermath of mass extinctions--Lilliput effects--imply a predictable response among unitary animals to these events. The occurrence of Lilliput effects has yet to be widely tested in colonial organisms, which are of particular interest as size change may potentially occur at the two hierarchical levels of the colony and the individual zooids. Bryozoans are particularly useful organisms in which to study colonial size response as they have well-defined zooids. Additionally, a number of analyses of present-day bryozoans have shown that zooid size reflects local environmental conditions, most notably seawater temperature and possibly also food supply. Following the hypothesised decline in primary productivity at the Cretaceous-Paleogene (K-Pg) mass extinction, it is predicted that bryozoan zooid size should decline in the early Paleogene, resulting in a Lilliput effect. To test this prediction, zooid size was compared across the K-Pg boundary at the assemblage level and also within 4 surviving genera. Analysis of 59 bryozoan species from assemblages on either side of the K-Pg boundary showed no significant change in zooid length. Zooid size was also measured in 98 Maastrichtian colonies and 162 Danian colonies belonging to four congeneric species. Only one of these genera showed a significant size decrease across the K-Pg boundary, the other three maintaining constant zooidal lengths, widths and areas. Additionally, the sizes of 210 Maastrichtian colonies and 163 Danian colonies did not show consistent size decrease across the K-Pg boundary in these same species, although maximum colony size did decline in three out of four genera. Furthermore, this lack of consistent size change is uniform between two distinct biogeographical regions, Denmark and the southeastern USA. PMID:24505275

  15. The Lilliput Effect in Colonial Organisms: Cheilostome Bryozoans at the Cretaceous–Paleogene Mass Extinction

    PubMed Central

    Sogot, Caroline E.; Harper, Elizabeth M.; Taylor, Paul D.

    2014-01-01

    Consistent trends towards decreasing body size in the aftermath of mass extinctions – Lilliput effects – imply a predictable response among unitary animals to these events. The occurrence of Lilliput effects has yet to be widely tested in colonial organisms, which are of particular interest as size change may potentially occur at the two hierarchical levels of the colony and the individual zooids. Bryozoans are particularly useful organisms in which to study colonial size response as they have well-defined zooids. Additionally, a number of analyses of present-day bryozoans have shown that zooid size reflects local environmental conditions, most notably seawater temperature and possibly also food supply. Following the hypothesised decline in primary productivity at the Cretaceous–Paleogene (K–Pg) mass extinction, it is predicted that bryozoan zooid size should decline in the early Paleogene, resulting in a Lilliput effect. To test this prediction, zooid size was compared across the K–Pg boundary at the assemblage level and also within 4 surviving genera. Analysis of 59 bryozoan species from assemblages on either side of the K–Pg boundary showed no significant change in zooid length. Zooid size was also measured in 98 Maastrichtian colonies and 162 Danian colonies belonging to four congeneric species. Only one of these genera showed a significant size decrease across the K–Pg boundary, the other three maintaining constant zooidal lengths, widths and areas. Additionally, the sizes of 210 Maastrichtian colonies and 163 Danian colonies did not show consistent size decrease across the K–Pg boundary in these same species, although maximum colony size did decline in three out of four genera. Furthermore, this lack of consistent size change is uniform between two distinct biogeographical regions, Denmark and the southeastern USA. PMID:24505275

  16. Extinction space--a method for the quantification and classification of changes in morphospace across extinction boundaries.

    PubMed

    Korn, Dieter; Hopkins, Melanie J; Walton, Sonny A

    2013-10-01

    Three main modes of extinction are responsible for reductions in morphological disparity: (1) random (caused by a nonselective extinction event); (2) marginal (a symmetric, selective extinction event trimming the margin of morphospace); and (3) lateral (an asymmetric, selective extinction event eliminating one side of the morphospace). These three types of extinction event can be distinguished from one another by comparing changes in three measures of morphospace occupation: (1) the sum of range along the main axes; (2) the sum of variance; and (3) the position of the centroid. Computer simulations of various extinction events demonstrate that the pre-extinction distribution of taxa (random or normal) in the morphospace has little influence on the quantification of disparity changes, whereas the modes of the extinction events play the major role. Together, the three disparity metrics define an "extinction-space" in which different extinction events can be directly compared with one another. Application of this method to selected extinction events (Frasnian-Famennian, Devonian-Carboniferous, and Permian-Triassic) of the Ammonoidea demonstrate the similarity of the Devonian events (selective extinctions) but the striking difference from the end-Permian event (nonselective extinction). These events differ in their mode of extinction despite decreases in taxonomic diversity of similar magnitude. PMID:24094334

  17. First evidence for a massive extinction event affecting bees close to the K-T boundary.

    PubMed

    Rehan, Sandra M; Leys, Remko; Schwarz, Michael P

    2013-01-01

    Bees and eudicot plants both arose in the mid-late Cretaceous, and their co-evolutionary relationships have often been assumed as an important element in the rise of flowering plants. Given the near-complete dependence of bees on eudicots we would expect that major extinction events affecting the latter would have also impacted bees. However, given the very patchy distribution of bees in the fossil record, identifying any such extinctions using fossils is very problematic. Here we use molecular phylogenetic analyses to show that one bee group, the Xylocopinae, originated in the mid-Cretaceous, coinciding with the early radiation of the eudicots. Lineage through time analyses for this bee subfamily show very early diversification, followed by a long period of seemingly no radiation and then followed by rapid diversification in each of the four constituent tribes. These patterns are consistent with both a long-fuse model of radiation and a massive extinction event close to the K-T boundary. We argue that massive extinction is much more plausible than a long fuse, given the historical biogeography of these bees and the diversity of ecological niches that they occupy. Our results suggest that events near the K-T boundary would have disrupted many plant-bee relationships, with major consequences for the subsequent evolution of eudicots and their pollinators. PMID:24194843

  18. First Evidence for a Massive Extinction Event Affecting Bees Close to the K-T Boundary

    PubMed Central

    Rehan, Sandra M.; Leys, Remko; Schwarz, Michael P.

    2013-01-01

    Bees and eudicot plants both arose in the mid-late Cretaceous, and their co-evolutionary relationships have often been assumed as an important element in the rise of flowering plants. Given the near-complete dependence of bees on eudicots we would expect that major extinction events affecting the latter would have also impacted bees. However, given the very patchy distribution of bees in the fossil record, identifying any such extinctions using fossils is very problematic. Here we use molecular phylogenetic analyses to show that one bee group, the Xylocopinae, originated in the mid-Cretaceous, coinciding with the early radiation of the eudicots. Lineage through time analyses for this bee subfamily show very early diversification, followed by a long period of seemingly no radiation and then followed by rapid diversification in each of the four constituent tribes. These patterns are consistent with both a long-fuse model of radiation and a massive extinction event close to the K-T boundary. We argue that massive extinction is much more plausible than a long fuse, given the historical biogeography of these bees and the diversity of ecological niches that they occupy. Our results suggest that events near the K-T boundary would have disrupted many plant-bee relationships, with major consequences for the subsequent evolution of eudicots and their pollinators. PMID:24194843

  19. New Age of Fishes initiated by the Cretaceous-Paleogene mass extinction.

    PubMed

    Sibert, Elizabeth C; Norris, Richard D

    2015-07-14

    Ray-finned fishes (Actinopterygii) comprise nearly half of all modern vertebrate diversity, and are an ecologically and numerically dominant megafauna in most aquatic environments. Crown teleost fishes diversified relatively recently, during the Late Cretaceous and early Paleogene, although the exact timing and cause of their radiation and rise to ecological dominance is poorly constrained. Here we use microfossil teeth and shark dermal scales (ichthyoliths) preserved in deep-sea sediments to study the changes in the pelagic fish community in the latest Cretaceous and early Paleogene. We find that the Cretaceous-Paleogene (K/Pg) extinction event marked a profound change in the structure of ichthyolith communities around the globe: Whereas shark denticles outnumber ray-finned fish teeth in Cretaceous deep-sea sediments around the world, there is a dramatic increase in the proportion of ray-finned fish teeth to shark denticles in the Paleocene. There is also an increase in size and numerical abundance of ray-finned fish teeth at the boundary. These changes are sustained through at least the first 24 million years of the Cenozoic. This new fish community structure began at the K/Pg mass extinction, suggesting the extinction event played an important role in initiating the modern "age of fishes." PMID:26124114

  20. New Age of Fishes initiated by the Cretaceous-Paleogene mass extinction

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sibert, Elizabeth C.; Norris, Richard D.

    2015-07-01

    Ray-finned fishes (Actinopterygii) comprise nearly half of all modern vertebrate diversity, and are an ecologically and numerically dominant megafauna in most aquatic environments. Crown teleost fishes diversified relatively recently, during the Late Cretaceous and early Paleogene, although the exact timing and cause of their radiation and rise to ecological dominance is poorly constrained. Here we use microfossil teeth and shark dermal scales (ichthyoliths) preserved in deep-sea sediments to study the changes in the pelagic fish community in the latest Cretaceous and early Paleogene. We find that the Cretaceous-Paleogene (K/Pg) extinction event marked a profound change in the structure of ichthyolith communities around the globe: Whereas shark denticles outnumber ray-finned fish teeth in Cretaceous deep-sea sediments around the world, there is a dramatic increase in the proportion of ray-finned fish teeth to shark denticles in the Paleocene. There is also an increase in size and numerical abundance of ray-finned fish teeth at the boundary. These changes are sustained through at least the first 24 million years of the Cenozoic. This new fish community structure began at the K/Pg mass extinction, suggesting the extinction event played an important role in initiating the modern "age of fishes."

  1. New Age of Fishes initiated by the Cretaceous−Paleogene mass extinction

    PubMed Central

    Sibert, Elizabeth C.; Norris, Richard D.

    2015-01-01

    Ray-finned fishes (Actinopterygii) comprise nearly half of all modern vertebrate diversity, and are an ecologically and numerically dominant megafauna in most aquatic environments. Crown teleost fishes diversified relatively recently, during the Late Cretaceous and early Paleogene, although the exact timing and cause of their radiation and rise to ecological dominance is poorly constrained. Here we use microfossil teeth and shark dermal scales (ichthyoliths) preserved in deep-sea sediments to study the changes in the pelagic fish community in the latest Cretaceous and early Paleogene. We find that the Cretaceous−Paleogene (K/Pg) extinction event marked a profound change in the structure of ichthyolith communities around the globe: Whereas shark denticles outnumber ray-finned fish teeth in Cretaceous deep-sea sediments around the world, there is a dramatic increase in the proportion of ray-finned fish teeth to shark denticles in the Paleocene. There is also an increase in size and numerical abundance of ray-finned fish teeth at the boundary. These changes are sustained through at least the first 24 million years of the Cenozoic. This new fish community structure began at the K/Pg mass extinction, suggesting the extinction event played an important role in initiating the modern “age of fishes.” PMID:26124114

  2. A microbial carbonate response in synchrony with the end-Triassic mass extinction across the SW UK

    PubMed Central

    Ibarra, Yadira; Corsetti, Frank A.; Greene, Sarah E.; Bottjer, David J.

    2016-01-01

    The eruption of the Central Atlantic Magmatic Province (CAMP)—the largest igneous province known—has been linked to the end-Triassic mass extinction event, however reconciling the response of the biosphere (at local and nonlocal scales) to potential CAMP-induced geochemical excursions has remained challenging. Here we present a combined sedimentary and biological response to an ecosystem collapse in Triassic-Jurassic strata of the southwest United Kingdom (SW UK) expressed as widely distributed carbonate microbialites and associated biogeochemical facies. The microbialites (1) occur at the same stratigraphic level as the mass extinction extinction, (2) host a negative isotope excursion in δ13Corg found in other successions around the world, and (3) co-occur with an acme of prasinophyte algae ‘disaster taxa’ also dominant in Triassic-Jurassic boundary strata of other European sections. Although the duration of microbialite deposition is uncertain, it is likely that they formed rapidly (perhaps fewer than ten thousand years), thus providing a high-resolution glimpse into the initial carbon isotopic perturbation coincident with the end-Triassic mass extinction. These findings indicate microbialites from the SW UK capture a nonlocal biosedimentary response to the cascading effects of massive volcanism and add to the current understanding of paleoecology in the aftermath of the end-Triassic extinction. PMID:26813244

  3. A microbial carbonate response in synchrony with the end-Triassic mass extinction across the SW UK.

    PubMed

    Ibarra, Yadira; Corsetti, Frank A; Greene, Sarah E; Bottjer, David J

    2016-01-01

    The eruption of the Central Atlantic Magmatic Province (CAMP)-the largest igneous province known-has been linked to the end-Triassic mass extinction event, however reconciling the response of the biosphere (at local and nonlocal scales) to potential CAMP-induced geochemical excursions has remained challenging. Here we present a combined sedimentary and biological response to an ecosystem collapse in Triassic-Jurassic strata of the southwest United Kingdom (SW UK) expressed as widely distributed carbonate microbialites and associated biogeochemical facies. The microbialites (1) occur at the same stratigraphic level as the mass extinction extinction, (2) host a negative isotope excursion in δ(13)Corg found in other successions around the world, and (3) co-occur with an acme of prasinophyte algae 'disaster taxa' also dominant in Triassic-Jurassic boundary strata of other European sections. Although the duration of microbialite deposition is uncertain, it is likely that they formed rapidly (perhaps fewer than ten thousand years), thus providing a high-resolution glimpse into the initial carbon isotopic perturbation coincident with the end-Triassic mass extinction. These findings indicate microbialites from the SW UK capture a nonlocal biosedimentary response to the cascading effects of massive volcanism and add to the current understanding of paleoecology in the aftermath of the end-Triassic extinction. PMID:26813244

  4. Bivalve network reveals latitudinal selectivity gradient at the end-Cretaceous mass extinction

    PubMed Central

    Vilhena, Daril A.; Harris, Elisha B.; Bergstrom, Carl T.; Maliska, Max E.; Ward, Peter D.; Sidor, Christian A.; Strömberg, Caroline A. E.; Wilson, Gregory P.

    2013-01-01

    Biogeographic patterns of survival help constrain the causal factors responsible for mass extinction. To test whether biogeography influenced end-Cretaceous (K-Pg) extinction patterns, we used a network approach to delimit biogeographic units (BUs) above the species level in a global Maastrichtian database of 329 bivalve genera. Geographic range is thought to buffer taxa from extinction, but the number of BUs a taxon occurred in superseded geographic range as an extinction predictor. Geographically, we found a latitudinal selectivity gradient for geographic range in the K-Pg, such that higher latitude BUs had lower extinction than expected given the geographic ranges of the genera, implying that (i) high latitude BUs were more resistant to extinction, (ii) the intensity of the K-Pg kill mechanism declined with distance from the tropics, or (iii) both. Our results highlight the importance of macroecological structure in constraining causal mechanisms of extinction and estimating extinction risk of taxa.

  5. Dental Disparity and Ecological Stability in Bird-like Dinosaurs prior to the End-Cretaceous Mass Extinction.

    PubMed

    Larson, Derek W; Brown, Caleb M; Evans, David C

    2016-05-23

    The causes, rate, and selectivity of the end-Cretaceous mass extinction continue to be highly debated [1-5]. Extinction patterns in small, feathered maniraptoran dinosaurs (including birds) are important for understanding extant biodiversity and present an enigma considering the survival of crown group birds (Neornithes) and the extinction of their close kin across the end-Cretaceous boundary [6]. Because of the patchy Cretaceous fossil record of small maniraptorans [7-12], this important transition has not been closely examined in this group. Here, we test the hypothesis that morphological disparity in bird-like dinosaurs was decreasing leading up to the end-Cretaceous mass extinction, as has been hypothesized in some dinosaurs [13, 14]. To test this, we examined tooth morphology, an ecological indicator in fossil reptiles [15-19], from over 3,100 maniraptoran teeth from four groups (Troodontidae, Dromaeosauridae, Richardoestesia, and cf. Aves) across the last 18 million years of the Cretaceous. We demonstrate that tooth disparity, a proxy for variation in feeding ecology, shows no significant decline leading up to the extinction event within any of the groups. Tooth morphospace occupation also remains static over this time interval except for increased size during the early Maastrichtian. Our data provide strong support that extinction within this group occurred suddenly after a prolonged period of ecological stability. To explain this sudden extinction of toothed maniraptorans and the survival of Neornithes, we propose that diet may have been an extinction filter and suggest that granivory associated with an edentulous beak was a key ecological trait in the survival of some lineages. PMID:27112293

  6. Macrofossil extinction patterns at Bay of Biscay Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary sections

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Ward, Peter D.; Macleod, Kenneth

    1988-01-01

    Researchers examined several K-T boundary cores at Deep Sea Drilling Project (DSDP) core repositories to document biostratigraphic ranges of inoceramid shell fragments and prisms. As in land-based sections, prisms in the deep sea cores disappear well before the K-T boundary. Ammonites show a very different extinction pattern than do the inoceramids. A minimum of seven ammonite species have been collected from the last meter of Cretaceous strata in the Bay of Biscay basin. In three of the sections there is no marked drop in either species numbers or abundance prior to the K-T boundary Cretaceous strata; at the Zumaya section, however, both species richness and abundance drop in the last 20 m of the Cretaceous, with only a single ammonite specimen recovered to date from the uppermost 12 m of Cretaceous strata in this section. Researchers conclude that inoceramid bivalves and ammonites showed two different times and patterns of extinction, at least in the Bay of Biscay region. The inoceramids disappeared gradually during the Early Maestrichtian, and survived only into the earliest Late Maestrichtian. Ammonites, on the other hand, maintained relatively high species richness throughout the Maestrichtian, and then disappeared suddenly, either coincident with, or immediately before the microfossil extinction event marking the very end of the Cretaceous.

  7. An evaluation of criteria that may be used to identify species surviving a mass extinction

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Macleod, N.

    1994-01-01

    One of the most difficult obstacles to establishing a causal connection between mass extinctions and large body impacts is the existence of what appear to be many more KT survivor species than previously suspected. Though interpretations of 'Cretaceous' faunal elements in lowermost Danian sediments differ, this enigmatic fauna has not been recovered from every biozone-complete boundary section, including the El Kef stratotype. In terms of their potential for providing constraints on scenarios seeking to account for the KT extinction event, the significance of such observations cannot be overstated. Owing to the consistency with which these observations have been made over the last several years, the possibility of widespread trans-KT biotic survivorship can no longer be dismissed. Rather, the survivorship hypothesis must be tested alongside its alternative (the reworking hypothesis) to determine which explains the available data in the most complete yet parsimonious manner. Moreover, valid tests for survivorship cannot be based on negative evidence or on the assumption that only a small cohort of species could have survived the KT boundary event. Several authors have recently proposed various criteria that might be used to test alternative interpretations for this aspect lowermost Danian biotic record.

  8. THE OBSERVED RELATION BETWEEN STELLAR MASS, DUST EXTINCTION, AND STAR FORMATION RATE IN LOCAL GALAXIES

    SciTech Connect

    Zahid, H. J.; Kewley, L. J.; Kudritzki, R. P.; Yates, R. M.

    2013-02-15

    In this study, we investigate the relation between stellar mass, dust extinction, and star formation rate (SFR) using {approx}150,000 star-forming galaxies from SDSS DR7. We show that the relation between dust extinction and SFR changes with stellar mass. For galaxies at the same stellar mass, dust extinction is anti-correlated with the SFR at stellar masses <10{sup 10} M {sub Sun }. There is a sharp transition in the relation at a stellar mass of 10{sup 10} M {sub Sun }. At larger stellar masses, dust extinction is positively correlated with the SFR for galaxies at the same stellar mass. The observed relation between stellar mass, dust extinction, and SFR presented in this study helps to confirm similar trends observed in the relation between stellar mass, metallicity, and SFR. The relation reported in this study provides important new constraints on the physical processes governing the chemical evolution of galaxies. The correlation between SFR and dust extinction for galaxies with stellar masses >10{sup 10} M {sub Sun} is shown to extend to the population of quiescent galaxies suggesting that the physical processes responsible for the observed relation between stellar mass, dust extinction, and SFR may be related to the processes leading to the shutdown of star formation in galaxies.

  9. Volcanism of the Central Atlantic Magmatic Province as a potential driving force in the end-Triassic mass extinction

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pálfy, József

    Radiometric dating suggests that eruptions in the Central Atlantic magmatic province (CAMP) are synchronous with the ˜200 Ma end-Triassic mass extinction. Although stratigraphic evidence for major flows prior to the extinction horizon is still lacking, the vast extent of the province allows the assumption of cause-and-effect relationship between volcanism and extinction, mediated by drastic environmental change. A recently recognized negative carbon isotope anomaly at the Triassic-Jurassic boundary is interpreted to reflect combined effects of volcanically derived CO2 input, methane release through dissociation of gas hydrates in a global warming episode, and a possible marine productivity crisis. Maximum duration of the Rhaetian stage is estimated as only 2 m.y., and the isotope event appears short, lasting for less than 100 k.y. A variety of marine and terrestrial fossil groups (e.g., radiolarians, corals, bivalves, and plants) experienced correlated and sudden extinction at the end of Triassic, although some groups (e.g., ammonoids and conodonts) underwent a prolonged period of declining diversity. Post-extinction faunas and floras are cosmopolitan. Biotic recovery was delayed and the earliest Hettangian is a lag phase characterized by low diversity, possibly due to sustained environmental stress. The hypothesis of CAMP as the principal driving force in the end-Triassic extinction appears more consistent with paleontological and isotopic observations than alternative models. The temporally adjacent large igneous provinces, the Siberian Traps at the Permian-Triassic boundary and the Early Jurassic Karoo-Ferrar province, are also linked to extinction events, albeit of differing magnitude.

  10. Delayed recovery of non-marine tetrapods after the end-Permian mass extinction tracks global carbon cycle

    PubMed Central

    Irmis, Randall B.; Whiteside, Jessica H.

    2012-01-01

    During the end-Permian mass extinction, marine ecosystems suffered a major drop in diversity, which was maintained throughout the Early Triassic until delayed recovery during the Middle Triassic. This depressed diversity in the Early Triassic correlates with multiple major perturbations to the global carbon cycle, interpreted as either intrinsic ecosystem or external palaeoenvironmental effects. In contrast, the terrestrial record of extinction and recovery is less clear; the effects and magnitude of the end-Permian extinction on non-marine vertebrates are particularly controversial. We use specimen-level data from southern Africa and Russia to investigate the palaeodiversity dynamics of non-marine tetrapods across the Permo-Triassic boundary by analysing sample-standardized generic richness, evenness and relative abundance. In addition, we investigate the potential effects of sampling, geological and taxonomic biases on these data. Our analyses demonstrate that non-marine tetrapods were severely affected by the end-Permian mass extinction, and that these assemblages did not begin to recover until the Middle Triassic. These data are congruent with those from land plants and marine invertebrates. Furthermore, they are consistent with the idea that unstable low-diversity post-extinction ecosystems were subject to boom–bust cycles, reflected in multiple Early Triassic perturbations of the carbon cycle. PMID:22031757

  11. Post-retrieval extinction as reconsolidation interference: methodological issues or boundary conditions?

    PubMed Central

    Auber, Alessia; Tedesco, Vincenzo; Jones, Carolyn E.; Monfils, Marie-H.; Chiamulera, Christian

    2013-01-01

    Memories that are emotionally arousing generally promote the survival of species; however, the systems that modulate emotional learning can go awry, resulting in pathological conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorders, phobias, and addiction. Understanding the conditions under which emotional memories can be targeted is a major research focus as the potential to translate these methods into clinical populations carries important implications. It has been demonstrated that both fear and drug-related memories can be destabilised at their retrieval and require reconsolidation to be maintained. Therefore, memory reconsolidation offers a potential target period during which the aberrant memories underlying psychiatric disorders can be disrupted. Monfils et al. in 2009 have shown for the first time that safe information provided through an extinction session after retrieval (during the reconsolidation window) may update the original memory trace and prevent the return of fear in rats. In recent years several authors have then tested the effect of post-retrieval extinction on reconsolidation of either fear or drug related memories in both laboratory animals and humans. In this article we review the literature on post-reactivation extinction, discuss the differences across studies on the methodological ground, and review the potential boundary conditions that may explain existing discrepancies and limit the potential application of post-reactivation extinction approaches. PMID:23404065

  12. Extinct mid-ocean ridges and insights on the influence of hotspots at divergent plate boundaries

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    MacLeod, Sarah; Dietmar Müller, R.; Williams, Simon; Matthews, Kara

    2016-04-01

    We review all global examples of confirmed or suspected extinct mid-ocean ridges that are preserved in present-day ocean basins. Data on their spreading rate prior to extinction, time of cessation, length of activity, bathymetric and gravity signature are analysed. This analysis identifies some differences between subgroups of extinct ridges, including microplate spreading ridges, back-arc basin ridges and large-scale mid-ocean ridges. Crustal structure of extinct ridges is evaluated using gravity inversion to seek to resolve a long-standing debate on whether the final stages of spreading leads to development of thinned or thickened crust. Most of the ridges we assess have thinner crust at their axes than their flanks, yet a small number are found to have a single segment that is overprinted by an anomalous feature such as a seamount or volcanic ridge. A more complex cessation mechanism is necessary in these cases. The location of spreading centres at their time of cessation relative to hotspots was also evaluated using a global plate reconstruction. This review provides strong evidence for the long-term interaction of spreading centres with hotspots and plate boundaries have been frequently modified within the radius of a hotspot zone of influence.

  13. Dinosaur bone beds and mass mortality: Implications for the K-T extinction

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Carpenter, Kenneth

    1988-01-01

    Mass accumulations of fossilized large terrestrial vertebrate skeletons (bone beds: BB) provide a test for K-T catastrophic extinction hypotheses. The two major factors contributing to BB formation are mode of death and sedimentation rate. Catastrophic mass mortality (CMM) is the sudden death of numerous individuals where species, age, health, gender, or social ranking offer no survivorship advantage. Noncatastrophic mass mortality (NCMM) occurs over time and is strongly influenced by species, age, or gender. In addition to cause of death, sedimentation rate is also important in BB formation. Models of BBs can be made. The CMM drops all individuals in their tracks, therefore, the BB should reflect the living population with respect to species, age, or gender. The NCMM results in monospecific BBs skewed in the direction of the less fit, usually the very young or very old, or towards a specific gender. The NCMM and AM BBs may become more similar the more spread out over time NCMM deaths occur because carcasses are widely scattered requiring hydraulic accumulation, and the greater time allows for more disarticulation and weathering. The CMM and NCMM BB appear to be dominated by social animals. Applying this and the characteristics of mortality patterns to the uppermost Cretaceous Hell Creek Formation indicates that only NCMM and AM BB occur. Furthermore, NCMM BB are rare in the upper third of the Hell Creek. Near the K-T boundary, only AM BB are known. The absence of CMM and NCMM BB appears to be real reflecting a decrease in population levels of some dinosaurs prior to the K-T event. The absence of CMM suggests that the K-T event did not lead to an instantaneous extinction of dinosaurs. Nor was there a protracted die-off due to an asteroid impact winter, because no NCMM BB are known at or near the K-T boundary.

  14. Bioessential element-depleted ocean following the euxinic maximum of the end-Permian mass extinction

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Takahashi, Satoshi; Yamasaki, Shin-ichi; Ogawa, Yasumasa; Kimura, Kazuhiko; Kaiho, Kunio; Yoshida, Takeyoshi; Tsuchiya, Noriyoshi

    2014-05-01

    We describe variations in trace element compositions that occurred on the deep seafloor of palaeo-superocean Panthalassa during the end-Permian mass extinction based on samples of sedimentary rock from one of the most continuous Permian-Triassic boundary sections of the pelagic deep sea exposed in north-eastern Japan. Our measurements revealed low manganese (Mn) enrichment factor (normalised by the composition of the average upper continental crust) and high cerium anomaly values throughout the section, suggesting that a reducing condition already existed in the depositional environment in the Changhsingian (Late Permian). Other redox-sensitive trace-element (vanadium [V], chromium [Cr], molybdenum [Mo], and uranium [U]) enrichment factors provide a detailed redox history ranging from the upper Permian to the end of the Permian. A single V increase (representing the first reduction state of a two-step V reduction process) detected in uppermost Changhsingian chert beds suggests development into a mildly reducing deep-sea condition less than 1 million years before the end-Permian mass extinction. Subsequently, a more reducing condition, inferred from increases in Cr, V, and Mo, developed in overlying Changhsingian grey siliceous claystone beds. The most reducing sulphidic condition is recognised by the highest peaks of Mo and V (second reduction state) in the uppermost siliceous claystone and overlying lowermost black claystone beds, in accordance with the end-Permian mass extinction event. This significant increase in Mo in the upper Changhsingian led to a high Mo/U ratio, much larger than that of modern sulphidic ocean regions. This trend suggests that sulphidic water conditions developed both at the sediment-water interface and in the water column. Above the end-Permian mass extinction horizon, Mo, V and Cr decrease significantly. On this trend, we provide an interpretation of drawdown of these elements in seawater after the massive element precipitation event

  15. The End-Permian mass extinction: What really happened and did it matter?

    PubMed

    Erwin, D H

    1989-08-01

    Marine communities of the Paleozoic differ markedly from those of the post-Paleozoic, a dichotomy long recognized as the most fundamental change between the Cambrian metazoan radiation and the present. The end-Permian mass extinction of about 54% of marine families eliminated many of the groups that dominated Paleozoic communities. Correlative changes occurred in terrestrial vertebrate and plant communities, but there is no clear evidence that these changes are related to the marine extinction. The marine extinction occurred during a period of physical change, and a variety of extinction mechanisms have been proposed, most related to a major Late Permian marine regression or to climatic changes. Unfortunately, the regression has made it difficult to gather data on the rate, timing and pattern of extinction, and the available data exclude only a few hypotheses. Thus the largest mass extinction, and the one with the greatest evolutionary importance, is also the most poorly understood. PMID:21227355

  16. Relating Aerosol Mass and Optical Depth in the Summertime Continental Boundary Layer

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Brock, C. A.; Wagner, N.; Middlebrook, A. M.; Attwood, A. R.; Washenfelder, R. A.; Brown, S. S.; McComiskey, A. C.; Gordon, T. D.; Welti, A.; Carlton, A. G.; Murphy, D. M.

    2014-12-01

    Aerosol optical depth (AOD), the column-integrated ambient aerosol light extinction, is determined from satellite and ground-based remote sensing measurements. AOD is the parameter most often used to validate earth system model simulations of aerosol mass. Relating aerosol mass to AOD, however, is problematic due to issues including aerosol water uptake as a function of relative humidity (RH) and the complicated relationship between aerosol physicochemical properties and light extinction. Measurements of aerosol microphysical, chemical, and optical properties help to constrain the relationship between aerosol mass and optical depth because aerosol extinction at ambient RH is a function of the abundance, composition and size distribution of the aerosol. We use vertical profiles of humidity and dry aerosol extinction observed in the southeastern United States (U.S.) to examine the relationship between submicron aerosol mass concentration and extinction at ambient RH. We show that the κ-Köhler parameterization directly, and without additional Mie calculations, describes the change in extinction with varying RH as a function of composition for both aged aerosols typical of the polluted summertime continental boundary layer and the biomass burning aerosols we encountered. We calculate how AOD and the direct radiative effect in the eastern U.S. have likely changed due to trends in aerosol composition in recent decades. We also examine the sensitivity of AOD to the RH profile and to aerosol composition, size distribution and abundance.

  17. Climate change and the selective signature of the Late Ordovician mass extinction

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Finnegan, Seth; Heim, Noel A.; Peters, Shanan E.; Fischer, Woodward W.

    2012-05-01

    Selectivity patterns provide insights into the causes of ancient extinction events. The Late Ordovician mass extinction was related to Gondwanan glaciation; however, it is still unclear whether elevated extinction rates were attributable to record failure, habitat loss, or climatic cooling. We examined Middle Ordovician-Early Silurian North American fossil occurrences within a spatiotemporally explicit stratigraphic framework that allowed us to quantify rock record effects on a per-taxon basis and assay the interplay of macrostratigraphic and macroecological variables in determining extinction risk. Genera that had large proportions of their observed geographic ranges affected by stratigraphic truncation or environmental shifts at the end of the Katian stage were particularly hard hit. The duration of the subsequent sampling gaps had little effect on extinction risk, suggesting that this extinction pulse cannot be entirely attributed to rock record failure; rather, it was caused, in part, by habitat loss. Extinction risk at this time was also strongly influenced by the maximum paleolatitude at which a genus had previously been sampled, a macroecological trait linked to thermal tolerance. A model trained on the relationship between 16 explanatory variables and extinction patterns during the early Katian interval substantially underestimates the extinction of exclusively tropical taxa during the late Katian interval. These results indicate that glacioeustatic sea-level fall and tropical ocean cooling played important roles in the first pulse of the Late Ordovician mass extinction in Laurentia.

  18. Climate change and the selective signature of the Late Ordovician mass extinction.

    PubMed

    Finnegan, Seth; Heim, Noel A; Peters, Shanan E; Fischer, Woodward W

    2012-05-01

    Selectivity patterns provide insights into the causes of ancient extinction events. The Late Ordovician mass extinction was related to Gondwanan glaciation; however, it is still unclear whether elevated extinction rates were attributable to record failure, habitat loss, or climatic cooling. We examined Middle Ordovician-Early Silurian North American fossil occurrences within a spatiotemporally explicit stratigraphic framework that allowed us to quantify rock record effects on a per-taxon basis and assay the interplay of macrostratigraphic and macroecological variables in determining extinction risk. Genera that had large proportions of their observed geographic ranges affected by stratigraphic truncation or environmental shifts at the end of the Katian stage were particularly hard hit. The duration of the subsequent sampling gaps had little effect on extinction risk, suggesting that this extinction pulse cannot be entirely attributed to rock record failure; rather, it was caused, in part, by habitat loss. Extinction risk at this time was also strongly influenced by the maximum paleolatitude at which a genus had previously been sampled, a macroecological trait linked to thermal tolerance. A model trained on the relationship between 16 explanatory variables and extinction patterns during the early Katian interval substantially underestimates the extinction of exclusively tropical taxa during the late Katian interval. These results indicate that glacioeustatic sea-level fall and tropical ocean cooling played important roles in the first pulse of the Late Ordovician mass extinction in Laurentia. PMID:22511717

  19. Climate change and the selective signature of the Late Ordovician mass extinction

    PubMed Central

    Finnegan, Seth; Heim, Noel A.; Peters, Shanan E.; Fischer, Woodward W.

    2012-01-01

    Selectivity patterns provide insights into the causes of ancient extinction events. The Late Ordovician mass extinction was related to Gondwanan glaciation; however, it is still unclear whether elevated extinction rates were attributable to record failure, habitat loss, or climatic cooling. We examined Middle Ordovician-Early Silurian North American fossil occurrences within a spatiotemporally explicit stratigraphic framework that allowed us to quantify rock record effects on a per-taxon basis and assay the interplay of macrostratigraphic and macroecological variables in determining extinction risk. Genera that had large proportions of their observed geographic ranges affected by stratigraphic truncation or environmental shifts at the end of the Katian stage were particularly hard hit. The duration of the subsequent sampling gaps had little effect on extinction risk, suggesting that this extinction pulse cannot be entirely attributed to rock record failure; rather, it was caused, in part, by habitat loss. Extinction risk at this time was also strongly influenced by the maximum paleolatitude at which a genus had previously been sampled, a macroecological trait linked to thermal tolerance. A model trained on the relationship between 16 explanatory variables and extinction patterns during the early Katian interval substantially underestimates the extinction of exclusively tropical taxa during the late Katian interval. These results indicate that glacioeustatic sea-level fall and tropical ocean cooling played important roles in the first pulse of the Late Ordovician mass extinction in Laurentia. PMID:22511717

  20. Impact dust not the cause of the Cretaceous-Tertiary mass extinction

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pope, Kevin O.

    2002-02-01

    Most of the 3-mm-thick globally distributed Chicxulub ejecta layer found at the Cretaceous-Tertiary (K-T) boundary was deposited as condensation droplets from the impact vapor plume. A small fraction of this layer (<1%) is clastic debris. Theoretical calculations, coupled with observations of the coarse dust fraction, indicate that very little (<1014 g) was submicrometer-size dust. The global mass and grain-size distribution of the clastic debris indicate that stratospheric winds spread the debris from North America, over the Pacific Ocean, to Europe, and little debris reached high southern latitudes. These findings indicate that the original K-T impact extinction hypothesis—the shutdown of photosynthesis by submicrometer-size dust—is not valid, because it requires more than two orders of magnitude more fine dust than is estimated here. Furthermore, estimates of future impact hazards, which rely upon inaccurate impact-dust loadings, are greatly overstated.

  1. Selective extinction and survival across the Cretaceous/Tertiary boundary in the northern Atlantic Coastal Plain

    SciTech Connect

    Gallagher, W.B. )

    1991-10-01

    The inner Atlantic Coastal Plain in New Jersey and the Delmarva Peninsula is underlain by an Upper Cretaceous-lower Tertiary sequence of marine and paralic sand, clay, and glauconitic beds. Campanian, Maastrichtian, Danian, and Thanetian deposits are especially fossiliferous and yield a succession of marine faunas that reveal a pattern of selective extinction and survival across the Cretaceous/Tertiary (K/T) boundary in this area. Cretaceous benthic invertebrate communities are dominated by oysters and other semi-infaunal and infaunal molluscs with planktotrophic larval stages. These are replaced in the Danian by brachiopod-dominated communities that are composed of epifaunal benthos with a variety of nonplanktotrophic reproductive strategies. A similar pattern is observable in the nektonic cephalopod populations in this sequence; the typical ammonites of the Cretaceous became extinct at the K/T boundary, whereas the nautilids survived. Ammonites are thought to have had a planktotrophic larval stage, whereas nautilids are known to lay large lecithotrophic eggs. This pattern of differential survival is attributed to the planktonic population crash at the K/T boundary which placed planktotrophically reproducing species at a disadvantage while favoring the varied groups that practiced alternative reproductive strategies.

  2. Accelerated modern human–induced species losses: Entering the sixth mass extinction

    PubMed Central

    Ceballos, Gerardo; Ehrlich, Paul R.; Barnosky, Anthony D.; García, Andrés; Pringle, Robert M.; Palmer, Todd M.

    2015-01-01

    The oft-repeated claim that Earth’s biota is entering a sixth “mass extinction” depends on clearly demonstrating that current extinction rates are far above the “background” rates prevailing between the five previous mass extinctions. Earlier estimates of extinction rates have been criticized for using assumptions that might overestimate the severity of the extinction crisis. We assess, using extremely conservative assumptions, whether human activities are causing a mass extinction. First, we use a recent estimate of a background rate of 2 mammal extinctions per 10,000 species per 100 years (that is, 2 E/MSY), which is twice as high as widely used previous estimates. We then compare this rate with the current rate of mammal and vertebrate extinctions. The latter is conservatively low because listing a species as extinct requires meeting stringent criteria. Even under our assumptions, which would tend to minimize evidence of an incipient mass extinction, the average rate of vertebrate species loss over the last century is up to 100 times higher than the background rate. Under the 2 E/MSY background rate, the number of species that have gone extinct in the last century would have taken, depending on the vertebrate taxon, between 800 and 10,000 years to disappear. These estimates reveal an exceptionally rapid loss of biodiversity over the last few centuries, indicating that a sixth mass extinction is already under way. Averting a dramatic decay of biodiversity and the subsequent loss of ecosystem services is still possible through intensified conservation efforts, but that window of opportunity is rapidly closing. PMID:26601195

  3. Evolutionary Events and Phytoplankton Recovery After the K/T Mass Extinction

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Fuqua, L. M.; Bralower, T. J.

    2004-12-01

    The recovery of the open ocean ecosystem after the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary mass extinction (65 Ma) was extremely slow. The surface to deep carbon isotopic gradient remained below latest Cretaceous levels for more than three million years after the boundary event, suggesting suppressed rates of carbon cycling and low phytoplankton productivity. There is a rapid change in the carbon isotopic gradient between 62 and 61 Ma, indicating the final recovery of surface water production levels (D'Hondt et al., 1998). We are investigating nannoplankton communities in the interval from 61.5 to 62.5 Ma to determine the relationship between the recovery and changes in productivity and carbon cycling. Samples were collected at high resolution from Ocean Drilling Program Site 1209 in the western Pacific, and Deep Sea Drilling Project Sites 384 in the North Atlantic and 528 in the South Atlantic. Results show major diversification of two dominant Cenozoic nannoliths (non-coocolith bearing, calcite-secreting nannoplankton), Fasciculithus and Sphenolithus, occurred shortly after carbon gradients were restored. The first occurrences of these two genera are associated with significant changes in calcareous nannoplankton communities, indicative of abrupt changes in surface water circulation. A rapid evolutionary sequence of early forms of Fasciculithus has been identified at Sites 1209 and 384. Two unidentified taxa were found before the first occurrence of the earliest documented species, F. pileatus. SEM work currently underway is designed to elucidate the evolution of this genus. At the Pacific site, the diversification is associated with an interval of dissolution, presumably resulting from a change in deep water circulation. The significance of this relationship is currently not understood. D'Hondt, S. et al., Organic carbon fluxes and ecological recovery from the Cretaceous-Tertiary mass extinction, Science, 282, 276-279, 1998.

  4. Evidence from ammonoids and conodonts for multiple Early Triassic mass extinctions

    PubMed Central

    Stanley, Steven M.

    2009-01-01

    Ammonoids and conodonts, being characterized by exceptionally high background rates of origination and extinction, were vulnerable to global environmental crises, which characteristically intensified background rates of extinction. Thus, it is not surprising that these taxa suffered conspicuous mass extinctions at the times of three negative Early Triassic global carbon isotopic excursions that resembled those associated with the two preceding Permian mass extinctions. In keeping with their high rates of origination, both the ammonoids and conodonts rediversified dramatically between the Early Triassic crises. Other marine taxa, characterized by much lower intrinsic rates of origination, were held at low levels of diversity by the Early Triassic crises; because global mass extinctions affect all marine life, these taxa must have experienced relatively modest expansions and contractions that have yet to be discovered, because they do not stand out in the fossil record and because the stratigraphic ranges of these taxa, being of little value for temporal correlation, have not been thoroughly studied. PMID:19721005

  5. Graptolite community responses to global climate change and the Late Ordovician mass extinction

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sheets, H. David; Mitchell, Charles E.; Melchin, Michael J.; Loxton, Jason; Štorch, Petr; Carlucci, Kristi L.; Hawkins, Andrew D.

    2016-07-01

    Mass extinctions disrupt ecological communities. Although climate changes produce stress in ecological communities, few paleobiological studies have systematically addressed the impact of global climate changes on the fine details of community structure with a view to understanding how changes in community structure presage, or even cause, biodiversity decline during mass extinctions. Based on a novel Bayesian approach to biotope assessment, we present a study of changes in species abundance distribution patterns of macroplanktonic graptolite faunas (˜447–444 Ma) leading into the Late Ordovician mass extinction. Communities at two contrasting sites exhibit significant decreases in complexity and evenness as a consequence of the preferential decline in abundance of dysaerobic zone specialist species. The observed changes in community complexity and evenness commenced well before the dramatic population depletions that mark the tipping point of the extinction event. Initially, community changes tracked changes in the oceanic water masses, but these relations broke down during the onset of mass extinction. Environmental isotope and biomarker data suggest that sea surface temperature and nutrient cycling in the paleotropical oceans changed sharply during the latest Katian time, with consequent changes in the extent of the oxygen minimum zone and phytoplankton community composition. Although many impacted species persisted in ephemeral populations, increased extinction risk selectively depleted the diversity of paleotropical graptolite species during the latest Katian and early Hirnantian. The effects of long-term climate change on habitats can thus degrade populations in ways that cascade through communities, with effects that culminate in mass extinction.

  6. Graptolite community responses to global climate change and the Late Ordovician mass extinction.

    PubMed

    Sheets, H David; Mitchell, Charles E; Melchin, Michael J; Loxton, Jason; Štorch, Petr; Carlucci, Kristi L; Hawkins, Andrew D

    2016-07-26

    Mass extinctions disrupt ecological communities. Although climate changes produce stress in ecological communities, few paleobiological studies have systematically addressed the impact of global climate changes on the fine details of community structure with a view to understanding how changes in community structure presage, or even cause, biodiversity decline during mass extinctions. Based on a novel Bayesian approach to biotope assessment, we present a study of changes in species abundance distribution patterns of macroplanktonic graptolite faunas (∼447-444 Ma) leading into the Late Ordovician mass extinction. Communities at two contrasting sites exhibit significant decreases in complexity and evenness as a consequence of the preferential decline in abundance of dysaerobic zone specialist species. The observed changes in community complexity and evenness commenced well before the dramatic population depletions that mark the tipping point of the extinction event. Initially, community changes tracked changes in the oceanic water masses, but these relations broke down during the onset of mass extinction. Environmental isotope and biomarker data suggest that sea surface temperature and nutrient cycling in the paleotropical oceans changed sharply during the latest Katian time, with consequent changes in the extent of the oxygen minimum zone and phytoplankton community composition. Although many impacted species persisted in ephemeral populations, increased extinction risk selectively depleted the diversity of paleotropical graptolite species during the latest Katian and early Hirnantian. The effects of long-term climate change on habitats can thus degrade populations in ways that cascade through communities, with effects that culminate in mass extinction. PMID:27432981

  7. Can Volcanic Eruptions Produce Ice Ages or Mass Extinctions?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Robock, A.; Ammann, C.; Oman, L.; Shindell, D.; Stenchikov, G.

    2006-12-01

    Volcanic eruptions are well known to be important causes of interannual and even interdecadal climate change. But can very large eruptions initiate ice ages, as has been suggested for the Toba eruption ~74,000 years ago? Could flood basalt eruptions, such as the Deccan Traps 65,000,000 years ago or the Siberian Traps 250,000,000 years ago, have produced climate change large enough and long-lasting enough, along with other atmospheric pollution, to have caused mass extinctions? Here we conduct climate model simulations of the effects of a volcanic eruption 100 times larger than the 1991 Pinatubo eruption as a test of the climatic effects of Toba. We use two different state-of-the-art climate models, CCSM 3.0 from the National Center for Atmospheric Research and ModelE from the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, to investigate the dependence of the results on the climate model used. We find that although the "Toba" eruption produces very large global cooling for a couple years, of up to 10°C, the volcanic aerosols leave the atmosphere quickly and the climate largely recovers in a decade. We investigated the mechanism of vegetation response to the cold and dark, but this mechanism was not strong enough to prolong the response enough to allow ice sheets to grow. On the other hand, continuous emissions from massive flood basalt eruptions lasting several decades could make it so cold and dark at the Earth's surface that many species would find it hard to survive. On longer time scales, however, continued large greenhouse gas emissions would have a significant warming effect. With good estimates of the amount and timing of gas and particle emissions into the atmosphere, we have the climate modeling tools to calculate their impact on climate.

  8. Macrofossil evidence for a rapid and severe Cretaceous-Paleogene mass extinction in Antarctica.

    PubMed

    Witts, James D; Whittle, Rowan J; Wignall, Paul B; Crame, J Alistair; Francis, Jane E; Newton, Robert J; Bowman, Vanessa C

    2016-01-01

    Debate continues about the nature of the Cretaceous-Paleogene (K-Pg) mass extinction event. An abrupt crisis triggered by a bolide impact contrasts with ideas of a more gradual extinction involving flood volcanism or climatic changes. Evidence from high latitudes has also been used to suggest that the severity of the extinction decreased from low latitudes towards the poles. Here we present a record of the K-Pg extinction based on extensive assemblages of marine macrofossils (primarily new data from benthic molluscs) from a highly expanded Cretaceous-Paleogene succession: the López de Bertodano Formation of Seymour Island, Antarctica. We show that the extinction was rapid and severe in Antarctica, with no significant biotic decline during the latest Cretaceous, contrary to previous studies. These data are consistent with a catastrophic driver for the extinction, such as bolide impact, rather than a significant contribution from Deccan Traps volcanism during the late Maastrichtian. PMID:27226414

  9. Macrofossil evidence for a rapid and severe Cretaceous–Paleogene mass extinction in Antarctica

    PubMed Central

    Witts, James D.; Whittle, Rowan J.; Wignall, Paul B.; Crame, J. Alistair; Francis, Jane E.; Newton, Robert J.; Bowman, Vanessa C.

    2016-01-01

    Debate continues about the nature of the Cretaceous–Paleogene (K–Pg) mass extinction event. An abrupt crisis triggered by a bolide impact contrasts with ideas of a more gradual extinction involving flood volcanism or climatic changes. Evidence from high latitudes has also been used to suggest that the severity of the extinction decreased from low latitudes towards the poles. Here we present a record of the K–Pg extinction based on extensive assemblages of marine macrofossils (primarily new data from benthic molluscs) from a highly expanded Cretaceous–Paleogene succession: the López de Bertodano Formation of Seymour Island, Antarctica. We show that the extinction was rapid and severe in Antarctica, with no significant biotic decline during the latest Cretaceous, contrary to previous studies. These data are consistent with a catastrophic driver for the extinction, such as bolide impact, rather than a significant contribution from Deccan Traps volcanism during the late Maastrichtian. PMID:27226414

  10. Macrofossil evidence for a rapid and severe Cretaceous-Paleogene mass extinction in Antarctica

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Witts, James D.; Whittle, Rowan J.; Wignall, Paul B.; Crame, J. Alistair; Francis, Jane E.; Newton, Robert J.; Bowman, Vanessa C.

    2016-05-01

    Debate continues about the nature of the Cretaceous-Paleogene (K-Pg) mass extinction event. An abrupt crisis triggered by a bolide impact contrasts with ideas of a more gradual extinction involving flood volcanism or climatic changes. Evidence from high latitudes has also been used to suggest that the severity of the extinction decreased from low latitudes towards the poles. Here we present a record of the K-Pg extinction based on extensive assemblages of marine macrofossils (primarily new data from benthic molluscs) from a highly expanded Cretaceous-Paleogene succession: the López de Bertodano Formation of Seymour Island, Antarctica. We show that the extinction was rapid and severe in Antarctica, with no significant biotic decline during the latest Cretaceous, contrary to previous studies. These data are consistent with a catastrophic driver for the extinction, such as bolide impact, rather than a significant contribution from Deccan Traps volcanism during the late Maastrichtian.

  11. Could Ocean Acidification Have Caused the End-Permian Mass Extinction? - An Earth System Model Evaluation

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cui, Y.; Kump, L. R.; Ridgwell, A.

    2013-12-01

    The end-Permian is associated with a 3-5‰ carbon isotope excursion in the ocean-atmosphere system within 20 kyr, most likely explained by a rapid and large amount of greenhouse gas emission. This has led to the hypothesis that it was ocean acidification that was the primary driver for the end-Permian marine mass extinction event. However, the total carbon emissions and degree of ocean acidification associated with the carbon isotope excursion are currently poorly constrained. To address this, we conduct a series of experiments varying initial and boundary conditions using an Earth system model (GENIE: http://cgenie.seao2.org/). We then invert the model by forcing the atmosphere δ13C to track our prescribed carbon isotopes on a reliable time scale derived from the recently published Meishan section in South China at each time step. The carbon isotope records are statistically treated to remove the noise that could result in unrealistic fluctuations in the derivatives of δ13C. The models are run for ~100 kyr from the initial sharp drop in δ13C (~60 kyr prior to the onset of the extinction event) to its initial recovery phase (~30 kyr after the onset of the extinction event). We test four isotopically distinctive sources, including mantle volcanic source (-9‰), organic matter (-25‰), thermogenic methane (-40‰) and biogenic methane (-60‰) and derive the corresponding carbon emissions consistent with the observed isotopic excursion for each. We also test the importance of the lack of pelagic carbonate production during the late Paleozoic and run the model configured both as a 'Neritan' (shallow carbonate production only) and 'Cretan' (both shallow benthic and open ocean pelagic) ocean scenarios.

  12. Impact and extinction signatures in complete Cretaceous-Tertiary (K-T) boundary sections

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Smit, J.; Groot, H.; Dejonge, R.; Smit, P.

    1988-01-01

    The Zumaya, Caravaca and Agost sections in Spain, the El Kef section in Tunisia and the Negev (Nahal Avdat) sections in Israel are among the most continuous, expanded and complete K-T boundary sections. The distribution patterns of the planktic faunas were quantitatively analyzed in closely spaced samples across the K-T boundary in these sections, in conjuction with the geochemistry, stable isotopes, mineralogy and magnetostratigraphy. Three hundred foraminiferal specimens were randomly selected and determined. Reliable estimates for the foraminiferal productivity changes across the K-T boundary and for the 1 to 2 Ma interval preceding the K-T boundary were made from the numbers of individuals/gram of sediment corrected for the sedimentation rates (calculated from magnetic reversals and lithology). No gradual or stepwise extinction is seen below the K-T boundary nor any productivity decrease. Stable isotope analyses show a warming just after deposition of the ejecta layer, not cooling as predicted by nuclear winter scenarios, although the duration of such cooling may be too short to be observed even in these complete sections. Low REE values and cpx spherules with quench textures idential to quench-textures in diagenetically altered spherules, strongly indicate an oceanic site of (one of) the impactor(s).

  13. Non-detection of C60 fullerene at two mass extinction horizons

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Carrasquillo, Anthony J.; Cao, Changqun; Erwin, Douglas H.; Summons, Roger E.

    2016-03-01

    Fullerene (C60) have been reported in a number of geologic samples and, in some cases, attributed to carbonaceous materials delivered during bolide impact events. The extraction and detection of C60 poses significant analytical challenges, and some studies have been called into question due to the possibility of C60 forming in situ. Here, we extracted samples taken from the Permian-Triassic boundary section in Meishan, South China and the Cretaceous-Paleogene boundary exposed at Stevns Klint, Denmark, and analyzed the residues using a fast and reliable method for quantifying C60. Extraction of both whole rock and completely demineralized samples were completed under conditions that previously yielded C60 as well as using an optimized approach based on recent literature reports. These extracts were analyzed using mass spectrometry with the soft-ionization techniques, atmospheric pressure chemical ionization (APCI) and electrospray ionization (ESI), which have not been shown to form fullerenes in-situ. In no case were we able to detect C60, nor could we corroborate previous reports of its occurrence in these sediments, thereby challenging the utility of fullerene as a proxy for bolide impacts or mass extinction events.

  14. In Situ Observations of Line-of-Sight Extinction Reveals the Depth of the Planetary Boundary Layer within Gale Crater, Mars

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Moore, Casey A.; Moores, John E.; Lemmon, Mark T.; Van Beek, Jason

    2015-11-01

    Imagers onboard the Mars Science Laboratory have been used to derive line-of-sight extinction coefficients within Gale Crater, Mars. The images in use have similar pointings and look at roughly the same section of the north crater rim some 30 km away. The observations are taken, on average, once every seven sols and have spanned more than an entire martian year. Another longstanding and more frequent observation is one in which the total column optical depth above Gale Crater can be derived. When comparing the two datasets, one can conclude that the air within the northern part of the crater supports less dust per volume than the bulk atmosphere above the crater. As such, little to no mixing has been observed between the two air masses. More recently, line-of-sight extinction variations with height have allowed the depth of the planetary boundary layer (PBL) to be examined by comparing morning and noon-time imaging. The top of the PBL can be seen as a change in the slope of the extinction. Below this change of slope, we observe that the PBL is well mixed with near constant extinction. The reduced extinction within the PBL may indicate that, in contrast to other Mars landing sites where mixing is implicated in dust lifting, that the relatively mild dynamics of mixing at Gale contribute to clearing of the PBL by enhancing the delivery of dust to the surface. Above the PBL, extinction increases rapidly. The PBL is typically seen to be shallower than the height of the crater rim, some 2 km above the crater floor. Not only was a suppressed PBL within Gale Crater predicted before landing, the fact that extinction is seen to increase above the PBL provides more evidence that the air mass above the crater initially supports more dust on average than the air lower down in the crater.

  15. Surface-water acidification and extinction at the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    D'Hondt, Steven; Pilson, Michael E. Q.; Sigurdsson, Haraldur; Hanson, Alfred K., Jr.; Carey, Steven

    1994-11-01

    If published estimates of SO2 volatilization and NOx generation by the Cretaceous-Tertiary (K-T) impact were atmospherically converted to sulfuric and nitric acid, globally dispersed, and rapidly rained out, the resulting acid concentrations would bracket a critical threshold in surface-ocean chemistry. Rapid and globally uniform deposition of masses corresponding to the lowest estimates would have had no major effect on sea-surface chemistry. However, similar deposition of masses corresponding to the highest estimates would have provided enough acid to destroy the carbonate-buffering capacity of the upper 100 m of the world ocean and catastrophically reduce surface-ocean pH. Despite the possible effect of the highest estimated acid yields, scenarios that rely on acid rain as the primary explanation of global K-T extinctions are not readily compatible with K-T records of terrestrial and marine survival or culturing studies of modern marine plankton. The possibility that acid rain was a primary cause of K-T extinctions can be tested further by analysis of geographic variation in extinction intensity, because such variation was a likely consequence if the impact resulted in global dispersal and rapid globally uniform deposition of more than ˜6 x 1016 mol of H2SO4 or 1.2 x 1017 mol of HNO3.

  16. The extinct, giant giraffid Sivatherium giganteum: skeletal reconstruction and body mass estimation

    PubMed Central

    2016-01-01

    Sivatherium giganteum is an extinct giraffid from the Plio–Pleistocene boundary of the Himalayan foothills. To date, there has been no rigorous skeletal reconstruction of this unusual mammal. Historical and contemporary accounts anecdotally state that Sivatherium rivalled the African elephant in terms of its body mass, but this statement has never been tested. Here, we present a three-dimensional composite skeletal reconstruction and calculate a representative body mass estimate for this species using a volumetric method. We find that the estimated adult body mass of 1246 kg (857—1812 kg range) does not approach that of an African elephant, but confirms that Sivatherium was certainly a large giraffid, and may have been the largest ruminant mammal that has ever existed. We contrast this volumetric estimate with a bivariate scaling estimate derived from Sivatherium's humeral circumference and find that there is a discrepancy between the two. The difference implies that the humeral circumference of Sivatherium is greater than expected for an animal of this size, and we speculate this may be linked to a cranial shift in centre of mass. PMID:26763212

  17. The extinct, giant giraffid Sivatherium giganteum: skeletal reconstruction and body mass estimation.

    PubMed

    Basu, Christopher; Falkingham, Peter L; Hutchinson, John R

    2016-01-01

    Sivatherium giganteum is an extinct giraffid from the Plio-Pleistocene boundary of the Himalayan foothills. To date, there has been no rigorous skeletal reconstruction of this unusual mammal. Historical and contemporary accounts anecdotally state that Sivatherium rivalled the African elephant in terms of its body mass, but this statement has never been tested. Here, we present a three-dimensional composite skeletal reconstruction and calculate a representative body mass estimate for this species using a volumetric method. We find that the estimated adult body mass of 1246 kg (857-1812 kg range) does not approach that of an African elephant, but confirms that Sivatherium was certainly a large giraffid, and may have been the largest ruminant mammal that has ever existed. We contrast this volumetric estimate with a bivariate scaling estimate derived from Sivatherium's humeral circumference and find that there is a discrepancy between the two. The difference implies that the humeral circumference of Sivatherium is greater than expected for an animal of this size, and we speculate this may be linked to a cranial shift in centre of mass. PMID:26763212

  18. Evolution and mass extinctions as lognormal stochastic processes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Maccone, Claudio

    2014-10-01

    -terrestrial civilizations existing in the Galaxy (as a consequence of the central limit theorem of statistics). (5) But the most striking new result is that the well-known `Molecular Clock of Evolution', namely the `constant rate of Evolution at the molecular level' as shown by Kimura's Neutral Theory of Molecular Evolution, identifies with growth rate of the entropy of our Evo-SETI model, because they both grew linearly in time since the origin of life. (6) Furthermore, we apply our Evo-SETI model to lognormal stochastic processes other than GBMs. For instance, we provide two models for the mass extinctions that occurred in the past: (a) one based on GBMs and (b) the other based on a parabolic mean value capable of covering both the extinction and the subsequent recovery of life forms. (7) Finally, we show that the Markov & Korotayev (2007, 2008) model for Darwinian Evolution identifies with an Evo-SETI model for which the mean value of the underlying lognormal stochastic process is a cubic function of the time. In conclusion: we have provided a new mathematical model capable of embracing molecular evolution, SETI and entropy into a simple set of statistical equations based upon b-lognormals and lognormal stochastic processes with arbitrary mean, of which the GBMs are the particular case of exponential growth.

  19. Mercury anomalies and the timing of biotic recovery following the end-Triassic mass extinction.

    PubMed

    Thibodeau, Alyson M; Ritterbush, Kathleen; Yager, Joyce A; West, A Joshua; Ibarra, Yadira; Bottjer, David J; Berelson, William M; Bergquist, Bridget A; Corsetti, Frank A

    2016-01-01

    The end-Triassic mass extinction overlapped with the eruption of the Central Atlantic Magmatic Province (CAMP), and release of CO2 and other volcanic volatiles has been implicated in the extinction. However, the timing of marine biotic recovery versus CAMP eruptions remains uncertain. Here we use Hg concentrations and isotopes as indicators of CAMP volcanism in continental shelf sediments, the primary archive of faunal data. In Triassic-Jurassic strata, Muller Canyon, Nevada, Hg levels rise in the extinction interval, peak before the appearance of the first Jurassic ammonite, remain above background in association with a depauperate fauna, and fall to pre-extinction levels during significant pelagic and benthic faunal recovery. Hg isotopes display no significant mass independent fractionation within the extinction and depauperate intervals, consistent with a volcanic origin for the Hg. The Hg and palaeontological evidence from the same archive indicate that significant biotic recovery did not begin until CAMP eruptions ceased. PMID:27048776

  20. Mercury anomalies and the timing of biotic recovery following the end-Triassic mass extinction

    PubMed Central

    Thibodeau, Alyson M.; Ritterbush, Kathleen; Yager, Joyce A.; West, A. Joshua; Ibarra, Yadira; Bottjer, David J.; Berelson, William M.; Bergquist, Bridget A.; Corsetti, Frank A.

    2016-01-01

    The end-Triassic mass extinction overlapped with the eruption of the Central Atlantic Magmatic Province (CAMP), and release of CO2 and other volcanic volatiles has been implicated in the extinction. However, the timing of marine biotic recovery versus CAMP eruptions remains uncertain. Here we use Hg concentrations and isotopes as indicators of CAMP volcanism in continental shelf sediments, the primary archive of faunal data. In Triassic–Jurassic strata, Muller Canyon, Nevada, Hg levels rise in the extinction interval, peak before the appearance of the first Jurassic ammonite, remain above background in association with a depauperate fauna, and fall to pre-extinction levels during significant pelagic and benthic faunal recovery. Hg isotopes display no significant mass independent fractionation within the extinction and depauperate intervals, consistent with a volcanic origin for the Hg. The Hg and palaeontological evidence from the same archive indicate that significant biotic recovery did not begin until CAMP eruptions ceased. PMID:27048776

  1. Mercury anomalies and the timing of biotic recovery following the end-Triassic mass extinction

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Thibodeau, Alyson M.; Ritterbush, Kathleen; Yager, Joyce A.; West, A. Joshua; Ibarra, Yadira; Bottjer, David J.; Berelson, William M.; Bergquist, Bridget A.; Corsetti, Frank A.

    2016-04-01

    The end-Triassic mass extinction overlapped with the eruption of the Central Atlantic Magmatic Province (CAMP), and release of CO2 and other volcanic volatiles has been implicated in the extinction. However, the timing of marine biotic recovery versus CAMP eruptions remains uncertain. Here we use Hg concentrations and isotopes as indicators of CAMP volcanism in continental shelf sediments, the primary archive of faunal data. In Triassic-Jurassic strata, Muller Canyon, Nevada, Hg levels rise in the extinction interval, peak before the appearance of the first Jurassic ammonite, remain above background in association with a depauperate fauna, and fall to pre-extinction levels during significant pelagic and benthic faunal recovery. Hg isotopes display no significant mass independent fractionation within the extinction and depauperate intervals, consistent with a volcanic origin for the Hg. The Hg and palaeontological evidence from the same archive indicate that significant biotic recovery did not begin until CAMP eruptions ceased.

  2. Terminal Ordovician extinction: geochemical analysis of the Ordovician/Silurian boundary, Anticosti Island, Quebec

    SciTech Connect

    Orth, C.J.; Gilmore, J.S.; Quintana, L.R.; Sheehan, P.M.

    1986-05-01

    Elemental abundances (including Ir), carbon and oxygen ratios in carbonates, mineral content, and thin sections have been measured in samples collected across the conodont-defined Ordovician/Silurian (O/S) boundary exposed on Anticosti Island, Quebec. The Ir concentrations ranged from 5 to a maximum at the boundary of 58 parts per trillion (ppt). However, there is no evidence, on the basis of these Ir results, for the association of a large-body-Earth impact with the O/S extinction, because the Ir concentrations, like those of most other trace elements, are simply proportional to the clay (Al) content in the carbonate sequence. The /sup 13/C//sup 12/C and /sup 18/O//sup 16/O ratios decrease abruptly at the boundary, then just as abruptly increase to a long period of higher than preboundary ratios. These patterns are probably related to the salinity in the seaway, which was shallowing up to boundary time and then deepened and developed patch-reefs. Fresh-water input from rivers would have been most influential during the shallow-water conditions. 32 references, 4 figures.

  3. Terrestrial ecosystem collapse associated to the K-Pg boundary and dinosaur extinction: palynological evidences

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bercovici, A.; Vajda, V.; Lyson, T. R.; Chester, S. G. B.; Sargis, E. J.; Pearson, D. A.; Joyce, W. G.

    2012-04-01

    We report here the discovery of the stratigraphically youngest in situ dinosaur specimen. This ceratopsian brow horn was found in southeastern Montana, in the Western Interior of the United States in a poorly rooted, silty mudstone floodplain deposit and only 13 centimeters below the palynologically defined K-Pg boundary. The boundary is identified using three criteria: 1) substantial decrease in diversity and abundance of Cretaceous pollen and spore taxa that completely disappear from the palynological record a few meters above the boundary, 2) the presence of a "fern spike", and 3) palynostratigraphical correlation to a nearby section where primary extraterrestrial impact markers are present (e.g., iridium anomaly, spherules and shocked quartz). The palynological record in the rock sequence immediately following the K-Pg boundary consistently indicates a sudden and major loss of the Cretaceous components across the North American record. During this rapid decline, the palynological assemblages are dominated by freshwater ferns (Azolla) and algae (usually Pediastrum sp. and Penetetrapites sp.) indicating generalized flooding in the area. The onset of the Paleocene sedimentation is subsequently announced by the presence of variegated beds, multiple lignite seams and small scale meandering river systems, starting with palynological associations that attest for reworking and erosion. The destabilization of terrestrial ecosystems is coincident with the markers of the K-Pg boundary, supporting a catastrophic event taking place over a very short duration. The in situ ceratopsian brow horn demonstrates that a gap devoid of non-avian dinosaur fossils in the last meters of the Cretaceous is artificial and thus inconsistent with the hypothesis that non-avian dinosaurs were extinct prior to the K-Pg boundary asteroid impact event.

  4. Widespread habitat change through paludification as an interactive mechanism in mass extinction events

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Klinger, L. F.

    1988-01-01

    The study of mass extinction events has largely focused on defining an environmental factor or factors that might account for specific patterns of faunal demise. Several hypotheses elaborate on how a given environmental factor might affect fauna directly, but differentially, causing extinction in certain taxa but not others. Yet few studies have considered specific habitat changes that might result from natural vegetation processes or from perturbations of vegetation. The role of large-scale habitat change induced by natural successional change from forest to bog (paludification) is examined and how large perturbations (e.g., volcanism, bolide impacts) might favor increased rates of paludification and consequent mass extinctions is considered. This hypothesis has an advantage over other hypotheses for mass extinctions in that modern day analogs of paludification are common throughout the world, thus allowing for considerable testing.

  5. Mercury anomaly, Deccan volcanism and the end-Cretaceous mass extinction

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Font, Eric; Adatte, Thierry; Nobrega Sial, Alcides; Drude de Lacerda, Luiz; Keller, Gerta; Punekar, Jahnavi

    2016-04-01

    The contribution of the Deccan Traps volcanism in the Cretaceous-Palaeogene (KPg) crisis is still a matter of debate. Particularly, the global geochemical effects of Deccan volcanism in the marine sedimentary record are still poorly resolved. Here, we investigate the mercury (Hg) content of the Bidart (France) section, where an interval of low magnetic susceptibility (MS) located just below the KPg boundary was hypothesized to result from paleoenvironmental perturbations linked to paroxysmal Deccan phase-2. Results show mercury concentrations over two orders of magnitude higher from ~80 cm below up to ~50 cm above the KPg boundary (max. 46.6 ppb) and coincident with the low MS interval. Increase in Hg contents shows no correlation with clay or total organic carbon contents, suggesting that the mercury anomalies resulted from higher input of atmospheric Hg species into the marine realm, rather than organic matter scavenging and/or increased run-off. The Hg anomalies correlate with high shell fragmentation and dissolution effects in planktic foraminifera suggesting correlative changes in marine biodiversity. This discovery represents an unprecedented piece of evidence of the nature and importance of the Deccan-related environmental changes at the onset of the KPg mass extinction. Funded by IDL (FCT UID/GEO/50019/2013)

  6. Unusual Deep Water sponge assemblage in South China-Witness of the end-Ordovician mass extinction.

    PubMed

    Li, Lixia; Feng, Hongzhen; Janussen, Dorte; Reitner, Joachim

    2015-01-01

    There are few sponges known from the end-Ordovician to early-Silurian strata all over the world, and no records of sponge fossils have been found yet in China during this interval. Here we report a unique sponge assemblage spanning the interval of the end-Ordovician mass extinction from the Kaochiapien Formation (Upper Ordovician-Lower Silurian) in South China. This assemblage contains a variety of well-preserved siliceous sponges, including both Burgess Shale-type and modern type taxa. It is clear that this assemblage developed in deep water, low energy ecosystem with less competitors and more vacant niches. Its explosion may be related to the euxinic and anoxic condition as well as the noticeable transgression during the end-Ordovician mass extinction. The excellent preservation of this assemblage is probably due to the rapid burial by mud turbidites. This unusual sponge assemblage provides a link between the Burgess Shale-type deep water sponges and the modern forms. It gives an excellent insight into the deep sea palaeoecology and the macroevolution of Phanerozoic sponges, and opens a new window to investigate the marine ecosystem before and after the end-Ordovician mass extinction. It also offers potential to search for exceptional fossil biota across the Ordovician-Silurian boundary interval in China. PMID:26538179

  7. Unusual Deep Water sponge assemblage in South China—Witness of the end-Ordovician mass extinction

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Li, Lixia; Feng, Hongzhen; Janussen, Dorte; Reitner, Joachim

    2015-11-01

    There are few sponges known from the end-Ordovician to early-Silurian strata all over the world, and no records of sponge fossils have been found yet in China during this interval. Here we report a unique sponge assemblage spanning the interval of the end-Ordovician mass extinction from the Kaochiapien Formation (Upper Ordovician-Lower Silurian) in South China. This assemblage contains a variety of well-preserved siliceous sponges, including both Burgess Shale-type and modern type taxa. It is clear that this assemblage developed in deep water, low energy ecosystem with less competitors and more vacant niches. Its explosion may be related to the euxinic and anoxic condition as well as the noticeable transgression during the end-Ordovician mass extinction. The excellent preservation of this assemblage is probably due to the rapid burial by mud turbidites. This unusual sponge assemblage provides a link between the Burgess Shale-type deep water sponges and the modern forms. It gives an excellent insight into the deep sea palaeoecology and the macroevolution of Phanerozoic sponges, and opens a new window to investigate the marine ecosystem before and after the end-Ordovician mass extinction. It also offers potential to search for exceptional fossil biota across the Ordovician-Silurian boundary interval in China.

  8. Unusual Deep Water sponge assemblage in South China—Witness of the end-Ordovician mass extinction

    PubMed Central

    Li, Lixia; Feng, Hongzhen; Janussen, Dorte; Reitner, Joachim

    2015-01-01

    There are few sponges known from the end-Ordovician to early-Silurian strata all over the world, and no records of sponge fossils have been found yet in China during this interval. Here we report a unique sponge assemblage spanning the interval of the end-Ordovician mass extinction from the Kaochiapien Formation (Upper Ordovician-Lower Silurian) in South China. This assemblage contains a variety of well-preserved siliceous sponges, including both Burgess Shale-type and modern type taxa. It is clear that this assemblage developed in deep water, low energy ecosystem with less competitors and more vacant niches. Its explosion may be related to the euxinic and anoxic condition as well as the noticeable transgression during the end-Ordovician mass extinction. The excellent preservation of this assemblage is probably due to the rapid burial by mud turbidites. This unusual sponge assemblage provides a link between the Burgess Shale-type deep water sponges and the modern forms. It gives an excellent insight into the deep sea palaeoecology and the macroevolution of Phanerozoic sponges, and opens a new window to investigate the marine ecosystem before and after the end-Ordovician mass extinction. It also offers potential to search for exceptional fossil biota across the Ordovician-Silurian boundary interval in China. PMID:26538179

  9. What caused the mass extinction An extraterrestrial impact

    SciTech Connect

    Alvarez, W. ); Asaro, F. )

    1990-10-01

    The authors and other investigators discovered iridium in the clays that mark the sudden disappearance of dinosaurs from the fossil record. Because iridium is rare in the earth's crust but abundant in some meteorites, they concluded that a giant meteorite collided with the earth, hurling megatons of debris into the atmosphere. This paper describes and discusses the accumulating evidence that suggests an asteroid or comet caused the Cretaceous extinction.

  10. Step-wise extinctions at the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary and their climatic implications

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Maurrasse, Florentin J-M. R.

    1988-01-01

    A comparative study of planktonic foraminifera and radiolarian assemblages from the Cretaceous-Tertiary (K-T) boundary section of the Beloc Formation in the southern Peninsula of Haiti, and the lowermost Danian sequence of the Micara Formation in southern Cuba reveals a remarkable pattern of step-wise extinctions. This pattern is consistent in both places despite the widely different lithologies of the two formations. Because of a step-wise extinction and the delayed disappearance of taxa known to be more representative of cooler water realms, it is inferred that a cooling trend which characterized the close of the Maastrichtian and the onset of the Tertiary had the major adverse effect on the existing biota. Although repetitive lithologic and faunal fluctuations throughout the Maastrichtian sediments found at Deep Sea Drilling Project (DSDP) site 146/149 in the Caribbean Sea indicate variations reminiscent of known climatically induced cycles in the Cenozoic, rapid biotic succession appears to have taken place during a crisis period of a duration greater than 2 mission years. Widespread and abundant volcanic activities recorded in the Caribbean area during the crisis period gives further credence to earlier contention that intense volcanism may have played a major role in exhacerbating pre-existing climatic conditions during that time.

  11. Back-casting sociality in extinct species: new perspectives using mass death assemblages and sex ratios.

    PubMed Central

    Berger, J; Dulamtseren, S; Cain, S; Enkkhbileg, D; Lichtman, P; Namshir, Z; Wingard, G; Reading, R

    2001-01-01

    Despite 150 years of interest in the ecology of dinosaurs, mammoths, proto-hominids and other extinct vertebrates, a general framework to recreate patterns of sociality has been elusive. Based on our recent discovery of a contemporary heterospecific mass death assemblage in the Gobi Desert (Mongolia), we fit predictions about gender-specific associations and group living in extant ungulates to extinct ones. We relied on comparative data on sex-ratio variation and body-size dimorphism, basing analyses on 38 additional mass mortality sites from Asia, Africa, Europe and North America that span 50 million years. Both extant and extinct species died in aggregations with biased adult sex ratios, but the skew (from 1:1) was greater for extinct dimorphic taxa, suggesting that sociality in these extinct species can be predicted from spatial and demographic traits of extant ones. However, extinct rhinos, horses and zebras were inconsistent with predictions about adult sex ratios, which underscores the inherent difficulty in backcasting historic patterns to some monomorphic taxa. These findings shed light not only on the sociality of extinct species but provide a sound, although limited, footing for interpretation of modern death assemblages within the context of the emerging science of taphonomy and palaeobehaviour. PMID:11209882

  12. Illawarra Reversal: the onset of the end-Permian mass extinction

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Isozaki, Y.

    2008-12-01

    The Permian magnetostratigraphic records demonstrate that a remarkable change occurred in geomagnetism in the Late Guadalupian (Middle Permian; ca. 265 Ma) from the long-term stable Kiaman Reverse Superchron (throughout the Late Carboniferous and Early-Middle Permian) to the Permian-Triassic Mixed Superchron with frequent polarity change (in the Late Permian and Triassic). This unique episode called the Illawarra Reversal probably reflects a significant mode change in geodynamo in the outer core of the planet after a 50 million year-long stable geomagnetism. The Illawarra Reversal was likely led by the appearance of thermal instability at the 2,900 km-deep core-mantle boundary in connection with mantle superplume activity. The Illawarra Reversal and the Guadalupian-Lopingian boundary event recorded the significant transition from the Paleozoic to Mesozoic-Modern world. Major global environmental changes in the Phanerozoic occurred almost simultaneously in the latest Guadalupian, e.g., 1) mass extinction, 2) ocean redox change, 3) sharp isotopic excursions (C and Sr), 4) sea-level drop, and 5) plume-related volcanism. In addition to the claimed possible link between the above-listed various environmental changes and mantle superplume activity, here I propose an extra explanation that a change in the core's geodynamo may have played another important role in determining the surface climate of the planet and the course of biotic evolution. When a superplume is launched from the core-mantle boundary, resultant thermal instability makes the geodynamo's dipole of the outer core unstable, and lowers the geomagnetic intensity. Being modulated by geo- and heliomagnetism, cosmic ray flux from the outer space into the Earth's atmosphere changes along time. The more cosmic ray penetrates through the atmosphere, the more cloud develops to increase albedo, thus enhances cooling the Earth's surface. The Illawarra Reversal, the Kamura cooling event, and other unique geologic

  13. Tektites in Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary rocks on Haiti and their bearing on the Alvarez impact extinction hypothesis

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Izett, G.A.

    1991-01-01

    Relic tektites are associated with a Pt-group metal abundance anomaly and shocked minerals in a thin marl bed that marks the K-T boundary on Haiti. The presence of these three impact-produced materials at the precise K-T boundary enormously strengthens the Alvarez impact extinction hypothesis. The Haitian tektites are the first datable impact products in K-T boundary rocks, and 40Ar-39Ar ages of the glass show that the K-T boundary and impact event are coeval at 64.5 ?? 0.1 Ma. -from Author

  14. Periodicity of mass extinctions without an extraterrestrial cause

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lipowski, Adam

    2005-05-01

    We study a lattice model of a multispecies prey-predator system. Numerical results show that for a small mutation rate the model develops irregular long-period oscillatory behavior with sizeable changes in a number of species. The periodicity of extinctions on Earth was suggested by Raup and Sepkoski [Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. 81, 801 (1984)], but thus far is lacking a satisfactory explanation. Our model indicates that this might be a natural consequence of the ecosystem dynamics and not the result of any extraterrestrial cause.

  15. End-Cretaceous marine mass extinction not caused by productivity collapse

    PubMed Central

    Alegret, Laia; Thomas, Ellen; Lohmann, Kyger C

    2012-01-01

    An asteroid impact at the end of the Cretaceous caused mass extinction, but extinction mechanisms are not well-understood. The collapse of sea surface to sea floor carbon isotope gradients has been interpreted as reflecting a global collapse of primary productivity (Strangelove Ocean) or export productivity (Living Ocean), which caused mass extinction higher in the marine food chain. Phytoplankton-dependent benthic foraminifera on the deep-sea floor, however, did not suffer significant extinction, suggesting that export productivity persisted at a level sufficient to support their populations. We compare benthic foraminiferal records with benthic and bulk stable carbon isotope records from the Pacific, Southeast Atlantic, and Southern Oceans. We conclude that end-Cretaceous decrease in export productivity was moderate, regional, and insufficient to explain marine mass extinction. A transient episode of surface ocean acidification may have been the main cause of extinction of calcifying plankton and ammonites, and recovery of productivity may have been as fast in the oceans as on land. PMID:22207626

  16. Changhsingian conodont succession and the end-Permian mass extinction event at the Daijiagou section in Chongqing, Southwest China

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Yuan, Dong-xun; Chen, Jun; Zhang, Yi-chun; Zheng, Quan-feng; Shen, Shu-zhong

    2015-06-01

    Previous studies suggested rapid evolution of conodonts across the Permian-Triassic boundary (PTB), and the end-Permian mass extinction pattern varies in different sections in South China. Here we document a high-resolution conodont succession from a carbonate facies of the Changhsingian Stage and across the PTB at the Daijiagou section, about 35 km north to Chongqing City, Southwest China. Two genera and twelve species are identified. Seven conodont zones are recognized from the uppermost part of the Lungtan Formation to the lowest Feixianguan Formation. They are the Clarkina liangshanensis, C. wangi, C. subcarinata, C. changxingensis, C. yini, C. meishanensis, and Hindeodus parvus zones in ascending order. Based on the high-resolution biostratigraphical framework at Daijiagou, the end-Permian mass extinction was rapid and it began in the base of the Clarkina meishanensis Zone. Associated with the extinction, a negative excursion of δ13Ccarb started in the middle part of Clarkina yini Zone with a progressive shift of 1.6‰ to the middle part of the Clarkina meishanensis, followed by a sharp shift of 3.51‰ from the Clarkina meishanensis Zone to the Hindeodus parvus Zone. Our study also suggests that the Triassic index species Hindeodus parvus co-occurred with Hindeodus changxingensis and Clarkina zhejiangensis and directly overlies the Clarkina meishanensis Zone at the Daijiagou section. All these data from the Daijiagou section and some previous studies of other sections in Sichuan, Guizhou provinces and Chongqing City suggest that the first occurrences of Hindeodus parvus are slightly earlier than the sharp negative excursion of δ13Ccarb and the FAD at the Meishan GSSP section. We consider that the slight difference of the end-Permian mass extinction, chemostratigraphy and conodont biostratigraphy at Daijiagou and its adjacent areas is most likely subject to different lithofacies, fossil preservation, and the constraint on the stratigraphic resolution rather

  17. Environments and extinctions at the K-T boundary in eastern Montana are compatible with an asteroid impact

    SciTech Connect

    Fastovsky, D.E. ); Sheehan, P.M. )

    1992-01-01

    In the terrestrial latest Cretaceous Hell Creek (HC) Formation, both non-biotic events and patterns of extinction and survivorship are consistent with an asteroid impact causing the extinctions. Environments through the last 2--3 million-year interval represented by the HC remained relatively constant: an aggrading coastal lowland dissected by meandering rivers. The K-T boundary occurred during an abrupt change to impeded drainage represented by coals and pond deposits formed under low-energy conditions. Because of the close temporal proximity of the sediments of the Paleocene Cannonball Sea to the K-T boundary in South Dakota, impeded drainage in the earliest Paleocene in eastern Montana may be attributable to riverine base-level changes associated with a renewed transgression of the western interior sea during the K-T transition. Patterns within the biota mirror those of the paleoenvironments. The ecological diversity of HC dinosaurs remains statistically unchanged through HC time. Analyses of vertebrates at the species level indicate a differential extinction in which the terrestrial biota underwent far more extinction than its aquatic counterpart. There is no evidence for changing environments in the upper HC, and there is circumstantial evidence that the latest Cretaceous was a time of renewed transgression rather than regression. Likewise, biotic patterns do not accord with gradual, environmentally driven extinctions. While the paleoenvironmental change that marks the K-T transition in eastern Montana accounts for some of the extinctions, the pattern of differential extinction is concordant with an asteroid impact. In this scenario, aquatic ecosystems and some land-based food chains would be buffered by detritus-based feeding. Terrestrial systems, dependent upon primary productivity, would undergo a short-term loss of resources causing extinctions.

  18. Changes in depth-transect redox conditions spanning the end-Permian mass extinction and their impact on the marine extinction: Evidence from biomarkers and sulfur isotopes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kaiho, Kunio; Oba, Masahiro; Fukuda, Yoshihiko; Ito, Kosuke; Ariyoshi, Shun; Gorjan, Paul; Riu, Yuqing; Takahashi, Satoshi; Chen, Zhong-Qiang; Tong, Jinnan; Yamakita, Satoshi

    2012-08-01

    Changes in redox conditions during the Changhsingian to Griesbachian spanning the end-Permian mass extinction were recently reported based on analyses of organic molecules. We provide more precise organic-molecular data, that detail redox conditions spanning the end-Permian mass extinction at different palaeowater depths in the neritic Palaeotethys (estimated water depths: 10, 40, 100, and 200 m; Bulla, Huangzhishan, Meishan, and Chaohu sections, respectively) during this period. Here we propose that a change from occasional euxinia to anoxia in the shallow Palaeotethys occurred at the time of the mass extinction intercalated with oxic pulses. The second extinction at 0.7 myr after the main extinction was also caused by anoxia. New and published sulfur-isotope ratios (34S/32S) measured in carbonate-associated sulfate from the neritic Palaeotethys and in sulfide from pelagic central Panthalassa sediments show high values during the Changhsingian, consistent with the development of euxinia. The mass extinction coincided with a global fall in δ34S values, as well as a shift in δ13C values, indicating a global oxidation of H2S. This organic and isotopic geochemistry implies that accumulation of hydrogen sulfide in intermediate and deep waters followed by oxidation of hydrogen sulfide led to dissolved oxygen consumption, surface-water anoxia, and acidification, resulting in the end-Permian mass extinction in the seas.

  19. The Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary marine extinction and global primary productivity collapse

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Zachos, J. C.; Arthus, M. A.; Dean, W. E.

    1988-01-01

    The extinction of marine phyto-and zoo-plankton across the K-T boundary has been well documented. Such an event may have resulted in decreased photosynthetic fixation of carbon in surface waters and a collapse of the food chain in the marine biosphere. Because the vertical and horizontal distribution of the carbon isotopic composition of total dissolved carton (TDC) in the modern ocean is controlled by the transfer of organic carbon from the surface to deep reservoirs, it follows that a major disruption of the marine biosphere would have had a major effect on the distribution of carbon isotopes in the ocean. Negative carbon isotope excursions have been identified at many marine K-T boundary sequences worldwide and are interpreted as a signal of decreased oceanic primary productivity. However, the magnitude, duration and consequences of this productivity crisis have been poorly constrained. On the basis of planktonic and benthic calcareous microfossil carbon isotope and other geochemical data from DSDP Site 577 located on the Shatsky Rise in the north-central Pacific, as well as other sites, researchers have been able to provide a reasonable estimate of the duration and magnitude of this event.

  20. Limits to biodiversity cycles from a unified model of mass-extinction events

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Feulner, Georg

    2011-04-01

    Episodes of species mass extinction dramatically affected the evolution of life on Earth, but their causes remain a source of debate. Even more controversy surrounds the hypothesis of periodicity in the fossil record, with conflicting views still being published in the scientific literature, often even based on the same state-of-the-art datasets. From an empirical point of view, limitations of the currently available data on extinctions and possible causes remain an important issue. From a theoretical point of view, it is likely that a focus on single extinction causes and strong periodic forcings has strongly contributed to this controversy. Here I show that if there is a periodic extinction signal at all, it is much more likely to result from a combination of a comparatively weak periodic cause and various random factors. Tests of this unified model of mass extinctions on the available data show that the model is formally better than a model with random extinction causes only. However, the contribution of the periodic component is small compared to factors such as impacts or volcanic eruptions.

  1. Thermal erosion of cratonic lithosphere as a potential trigger for mass-extinction.

    PubMed

    Guex, Jean; Pilet, Sebastien; Müntener, Othmar; Bartolini, Annachiara; Spangenberg, Jorge; Schoene, Blair; Sell, Bryan; Schaltegger, Urs

    2016-01-01

    The temporal coincidence between large igneous provinces (LIPs) and mass extinctions has led many to pose a causal relationship between the two. However, there is still no consensus on a mechanistic model that explains how magmatism leads to the turnover of terrestrial and marine plants, invertebrates and vertebrates. Here we present a synthesis of ammonite biostratigraphy, isotopic data and high precision U-Pb zircon dates from the Triassic-Jurassic (T-J) and Pliensbachian-Toarcian (Pl-To) boundaries demonstrating that these biotic crises are both associated with rapid change from an initial cool period to greenhouse conditions. We explain these transitions as a result of changing gas species emitted during the progressive thermal erosion of cratonic lithosphere by plume activity or internal heating of the lithosphere. Our petrological model for LIP magmatism argues that initial gas emission was dominated by sulfur liberated from sulfide-bearing cratonic lithosphere before CO2 became the dominant gas. This model offers an explanation of why LIPs erupted through oceanic lithosphere are not associated with climatic and biotic crises comparable to LIPs emitted through cratonic lithosphere. PMID:27009463

  2. Thermal erosion of cratonic lithosphere as a potential trigger for mass-extinction

    PubMed Central

    Guex, Jean; Pilet, Sebastien; Müntener, Othmar; Bartolini, Annachiara; Spangenberg, Jorge; Schoene, Blair; Sell, Bryan; Schaltegger, Urs

    2016-01-01

    The temporal coincidence between large igneous provinces (LIPs) and mass extinctions has led many to pose a causal relationship between the two. However, there is still no consensus on a mechanistic model that explains how magmatism leads to the turnover of terrestrial and marine plants, invertebrates and vertebrates. Here we present a synthesis of ammonite biostratigraphy, isotopic data and high precision U-Pb zircon dates from the Triassic-Jurassic (T-J) and Pliensbachian-Toarcian (Pl-To) boundaries demonstrating that these biotic crises are both associated with rapid change from an initial cool period to greenhouse conditions. We explain these transitions as a result of changing gas species emitted during the progressive thermal erosion of cratonic lithosphere by plume activity or internal heating of the lithosphere. Our petrological model for LIP magmatism argues that initial gas emission was dominated by sulfur liberated from sulfide-bearing cratonic lithosphere before CO2 became the dominant gas. This model offers an explanation of why LIPs erupted through oceanic lithosphere are not associated with climatic and biotic crises comparable to LIPs emitted through cratonic lithosphere. PMID:27009463

  3. Thermal erosion of cratonic lithosphere as a potential trigger for mass-extinction

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Guex, Jean; Pilet, Sebastien; Müntener, Othmar; Bartolini, Annachiara; Spangenberg, Jorge; Schoene, Blair; Sell, Bryan; Schaltegger, Urs

    2016-03-01

    The temporal coincidence between large igneous provinces (LIPs) and mass extinctions has led many to pose a causal relationship between the two. However, there is still no consensus on a mechanistic model that explains how magmatism leads to the turnover of terrestrial and marine plants, invertebrates and vertebrates. Here we present a synthesis of ammonite biostratigraphy, isotopic data and high precision U-Pb zircon dates from the Triassic-Jurassic (T-J) and Pliensbachian-Toarcian (Pl-To) boundaries demonstrating that these biotic crises are both associated with rapid change from an initial cool period to greenhouse conditions. We explain these transitions as a result of changing gas species emitted during the progressive thermal erosion of cratonic lithosphere by plume activity or internal heating of the lithosphere. Our petrological model for LIP magmatism argues that initial gas emission was dominated by sulfur liberated from sulfide-bearing cratonic lithosphere before CO2 became the dominant gas. This model offers an explanation of why LIPs erupted through oceanic lithosphere are not associated with climatic and biotic crises comparable to LIPs emitted through cratonic lithosphere.

  4. Extinctions of life

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Sepkoski, J. J. Jr; Sepkoski JJ, J. r. (Principal Investigator)

    1988-01-01

    This meeting presentation examines mass extinctions through earth's history. Extinctions are charted for marine families and marine genera. Timing of marine genera extinctions is discussed. Periodicity in extinctions during the Mesozoic and Cenozoic eras is plotted and compared with Paleozoic extinction peaks. The role of extinction in evolution and mankind's role in present extinctions are examined.

  5. Extinction and survival of plant life following the Cretaceous/Tertiary boundary event, Western Interior, North America ( USA).

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Tschudy, R.H.; Tschudy, B.D.

    1986-01-01

    The palynological Cretaceous/Tertiary boundary is recognized in the northern part of the Western Interior by the abrupt disappearance of a few characteristic Cretaceous pollen genera. In the southern part, the boundary is recognized by the disappearance of a somewhat different group of pollen. The abrupt change in both regions takes place precisely at the stratigraphic horizon at which boundary clay layers containing anomalously high concentrations of iridium are found. All the principal Cretaceous pollen genera that disappear regionally have been reported from Tertiary rocks in other parts of North America. Differential apparent extinction and/or survival reflects a pronounced temporary disruption of plant life immediately after the impact event. Some Cretaceous plants must have persisted in refugia to have provided the propagules for the rapid recovery of the flora. No massive total extinction of plant genera at the end of the Cretaceous can be seen from the palynologic record. -from Authors

  6. Evidence of constant diversification punctuated by a mass extinction in the African cycads

    PubMed Central

    Yessoufou, Kowiyou; Bamigboye, Samuel O; Daru, Barnabas H; van der Bank, Michelle

    2014-01-01

    The recent evidence that extant cycads are not living fossils triggered a renewed search for a better understanding of their evolutionary history. In this study, we investigated the evolutionary diversification history of the genus Encephalartos, a monophyletic cycad endemic to Africa. We found an antisigmoidal pattern with a plateau and punctual explosive radiation. This pattern is typical of a constant radiation with mass extinction. The rate shift that we found may therefore be a result of a rapid recolonization of niches that have been emptied owing to mass extinction. Because the explosive radiation occurred during the transition Pliocene–Pleistocene, we argued that the processes might have been climatically mediated. PMID:24455160

  7. Iridium abundance maxima at the latest Ordovician mass extinction horizon, Yangtze Basin, China: Terrestrial or extraterrestrial

    SciTech Connect

    Kun Wang; Chatterton, B.D.E. ); Attrep, M. Jr; Orth, C.J. )

    1992-01-01

    Neutron activation analyses of the Chinese Ordovician/Silurian (O/S) boundary sections at two distant localities in the Yangtze Basin, spanning the horizon of a major latest Ordovician global extinction event, show the maxima of iridium abundances to be coincident with the extinction horizon at the base of the graptolite Glyptograptus persculputs zone. The 0.23 ppb Ir maximum in the Yichang type section is almost as large as the late Eocene impact Ir anomaly. However, the authors have observed that the Ir abundances in the Chinese sections are closely correlated with the sedimentation rates, and therefore have concluded that Ir maxima do not indicate a cataclysmic extraterrestrial impact at this extinction level.

  8. Breeding Young as a Survival Strategy during Earth's Greatest Mass Extinction.

    PubMed

    Botha-Brink, Jennifer; Codron, Daryl; Huttenlocker, Adam K; Angielczyk, Kenneth D; Ruta, Marcello

    2016-01-01

    Studies of the effects of mass extinctions on ancient ecosystems have focused on changes in taxic diversity, morphological disparity, abundance, behaviour and resource availability as key determinants of group survival. Crucially, the contribution of life history traits to survival during terrestrial mass extinctions has not been investigated, despite the critical role of such traits for population viability. We use bone microstructure and body size data to investigate the palaeoecological implications of changes in life history strategies in the therapsid forerunners of mammals before and after the Permo-Triassic Mass Extinction (PTME), the most catastrophic crisis in Phanerozoic history. Our results are consistent with truncated development, shortened life expectancies, elevated mortality rates and higher extinction risks amongst post-extinction species. Various simulations of ecological dynamics indicate that an earlier onset of reproduction leading to shortened generation times could explain the persistence of therapsids in the unpredictable, resource-limited Early Triassic environments, and help explain observed body size distributions of some disaster taxa (e.g., Lystrosaurus). Our study accounts for differential survival in mammal ancestors after the PTME and provides a methodological framework for quantifying survival strategies in other vertebrates during major biotic crises. PMID:27044713

  9. Breeding Young as a Survival Strategy during Earth’s Greatest Mass Extinction

    PubMed Central

    Botha-Brink, Jennifer; Codron, Daryl; Huttenlocker, Adam K.; Angielczyk, Kenneth D.; Ruta, Marcello

    2016-01-01

    Studies of the effects of mass extinctions on ancient ecosystems have focused on changes in taxic diversity, morphological disparity, abundance, behaviour and resource availability as key determinants of group survival. Crucially, the contribution of life history traits to survival during terrestrial mass extinctions has not been investigated, despite the critical role of such traits for population viability. We use bone microstructure and body size data to investigate the palaeoecological implications of changes in life history strategies in the therapsid forerunners of mammals before and after the Permo-Triassic Mass Extinction (PTME), the most catastrophic crisis in Phanerozoic history. Our results are consistent with truncated development, shortened life expectancies, elevated mortality rates and higher extinction risks amongst post-extinction species. Various simulations of ecological dynamics indicate that an earlier onset of reproduction leading to shortened generation times could explain the persistence of therapsids in the unpredictable, resource-limited Early Triassic environments, and help explain observed body size distributions of some disaster taxa (e.g., Lystrosaurus). Our study accounts for differential survival in mammal ancestors after the PTME and provides a methodological framework for quantifying survival strategies in other vertebrates during major biotic crises. PMID:27044713

  10. Body size reductions in nonmammalian eutheriodont therapsids (Synapsida) during the end-Permian mass extinction.

    PubMed

    Huttenlocker, Adam K

    2014-01-01

    The extent to which mass extinctions influence body size evolution in major tetrapod clades is inadequately understood. For example, the 'Lilliput effect,' a common feature of mass extinctions, describes a temporary decrease in body sizes of survivor taxa in post-extinction faunas. However, its signature on existing patterns of body size evolution in tetrapods and the persistence of its impacts during post-extinction recoveries are virtually unknown, and rarely compared in both geologic and phylogenetic contexts. Here, I evaluate temporal and phylogenetic distributions of body size in Permo-Triassic therocephalian and cynodont therapsids (eutheriodonts) using a museum collections-based approach and time series model fitting on a regional stratigraphic sequence from the Karoo Basin, South Africa. I further employed rank order correlation tests on global age and clade rank data from an expanded phylogenetic dataset, and performed evolutionary model testing using Brownian (passive diffusion) models. Results support significant size reductions in the immediate aftermath of the end-Permian mass extinction (ca. 252.3 Ma) consistent with some definitions of Lilliput effects. However, this temporal succession reflects a pattern that was underscored largely by Brownian processes and constructive selectivity. Results also support two recent contentions about body size evolution and mass extinctions: 1) active, directional evolution in size traits is rare over macroevolutionary time scales and 2) geologically brief size reductions may be accomplished by the ecological removal of large-bodied species without rapid originations of new small-bodied clades or shifts from long-term evolutionary patterns. PMID:24498335