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The mid-Cretaceous was marked by emplacement of large igneous provinces (LIPs) that formed gigantic oceanic plateaus, affecting ecosystems on a global scale, with biota forced to face excess CO2 resulting in climate and ocean perturbations. Volcanic phases of the Ontong Java Plateau (OJP) and the southern Kerguelen Plateau (SKP) are radiometrically dated and correlate with paleoenvironmental changes, suggesting causal links between LIPs and ecosystem responses. Aptian biocalcification crises and recoveries are broadly coeval with C, Pb, and Os isotopic anomalies, trace metal influxes, global anoxia, and climate changes. Early Aptian greenhouse or super-greenhouse conditions were followed by prolonged cooling during the late Aptian, when OJP and SKP developed, respectively. Massive volcanism occurring at equatorial versus high paleolatitudes and submarine versus subaerial settings triggered very different climate responses but similar disruptions in the marine carbonate system. Excess CO2 arguably induced episodic ocean acidification that was detrimental to marine calcifiers, regardless of hot or cool conditions. Global anoxia was reached only under extreme warming, whereas cold conditions kept the oceans well oxygenated even at times of intensified fertility. The environmental disruptions attributed to the OJP did not trigger a mass extinction: rock-forming nannoconids and benthic communities underwent a significant decline during Oceanic Anoxic Event (OAE) 1a, but recovered when paroxysmal volcanism finished. Extinction of many planktonic foraminiferal and nannoplankton taxa, including most nannoconids, and most aragonitic rudists in latest Aptian time was likely triggered by severe ocean acidification. Upgraded dating of paleoceanographic events, improved radiometric ages of the OJP and SKP, and time-scale revision are needed to substantiate the links between magmatism and paleoenvironmental perturbations.

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