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Environmental consequences of Ontong Java Plateau and Kerguelen Plateau volcanism

By
Elisabetta Erba
Elisabetta Erba
Department of Earth Sciences, Università degli Studi di Milano, 20133 Milan, Italy
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Robert A. Duncan
Robert A. Duncan
College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences, Oregon State University, Corvallis, Oregon 97331, USA, and Department of Geology & Geophysics, King Saud University, Riyadh, KSA
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Cinzia Bottini
Cinzia Bottini
Department of Earth Sciences, Università degli Studi di Milano, 20133 Milan, Italy
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Daniele Tiraboschi
Daniele Tiraboschi
Department of Earth Sciences, Università degli Studi di Milano, 20133 Milan, Italy
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Helmut Weissert
Helmut Weissert
Department of Earth Sciences, ETH Zurich, CH-8092 Zurich, Switzerland
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Hugh C. Jenkyns
Hugh C. Jenkyns
Department of Earth Sciences, University of Oxford, South Parks Road, Oxford OX1 3AN, UK
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Alberto Malinverno
Alberto Malinverno
Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Columbia University, 61 Route 9W, Palisades, New York 10964, USA
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Published:
May 01, 2015

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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GSA Special Papers

The Origin, Evolution, and Environmental Impact of Oceanic Large Igneous Provinces

Clive R. Neal
Clive R. Neal
Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering & Earth Sciences, 156 Fitzpatrick Hall, University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, Indiana 46556, USA
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William W. Sager
William W. Sager
Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, University of Houston, Houston, Texas 77204-5007, USA
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Takashi Sano
Takashi Sano
Department of Geology and Paleontology, National Museum of Nature and Science, Tsukuba 305-0005, Japan
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Elisabetta Erba
Elisabetta Erba
Department of Earth Sciences, Università degli Studi di Milano, 20133 Milan, Italy
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Geological Society of America
Volume
511
ISBN print:
9780813725116
Publication date:
May 01, 2015

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