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Effects of Deccan volcanism on paleoenvironment and planktic foraminifera: A global survey

By
Jahnavi Punekar
Jahnavi Punekar
Department of Geosciences, Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey 08544, USA
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Paula Mateo
Paula Mateo
Department of Geosciences, Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey 08544, USA
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Gerta Keller
Gerta Keller
Department of Geosciences, Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey 08544, USA
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Published:
September 2014

Deccan volcanism, one of Earth's largest flood basalt provinces, erupted ~80% of its total volume (phase 2) during a relatively short time in the uppermost Maastrichtian paleomagnetic chron C29r and ended with the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary mass extinction. Full biotic recovery in the marine realm was delayed at least 500 k.y. or until after the last Deccan eruptions in C29n (phase 3, 14% of the total Deccan volume). For over 30 yr, the mass extinction has been commonly attributed to the Chicxulub impact, and the delayed recovery remained an enigma. Here, we demonstrate that the two phases of Deccan volcanism can account for both the mass extinction and delayed marine recovery.

In India, a direct correlation between Deccan eruptions (phase 2) and the mass extinction reveals that ~50% of the planktic foraminifer species gradually disappeared during volcanic eruptions prior to the first of four lava megaflows, reaching ~1500 km across India, and out to the Bay of Bengal. Another 50% disappeared after the first megaflow, and the mass extinction was complete with the last megaflow. Throughout this interval, blooms of the disaster opportunist Guembelitria cretacea dominate shallow-marine assemblages in coeval intervals from India to the Tethys and the Atlantic Oceans to Texas. Similar high-stress environments dominated by blooms of Guembelitria and/or Globoconusa are observed correlative with Deccan volcanism phase 3 in the early Danian C29n, followed by full biotic recovery after volcanism ended. The mass extinction and high-stress conditions may be explained by the intense Deccan volcanism leading to rapid global warming and cooling in C29r and C29n, enhanced weathering, continental runoff, and ocean acidification, resulting in a carbonate crisis in the marine environment.

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Contents

GSA Special Papers

Volcanism, Impacts, and Mass Extinctions: Causes and Effects

Edited by
Gerta Keller
Gerta Keller
Department of Geosciences, Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey 08544, USA
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Andrew C. Kerr
Andrew C. Kerr
School of Earth and Ocean Sciences, Cardiff University, Park Place, Cardiff CF10 3AT, Wales, UK
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Geological Society of America
Volume
505
ISBN print:
9780813725055
Publication date:
2014

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