Abstract

A unique isochronous interval in the Karoo Basin, South Africa, previously has been interpreted to postdate vertebrate extinction at the Permian-Triassic boundary in the Bethulie area, Lootsberg Pass, and elsewhere. It is demonstrated that the laminated beds, or laminites, in the Bethulie region are stratigraphically indistinct. The heterolithic interval exposed on the Heldenmoed farm is ~8 m below the Bethel farm section, <1 km away. At Lootsberg Pass, the laminated interval is below the Permian-Triassic boundary as defined by vertebrate biostratigraphy, rather than overlying it. Hence, this interval, critical to models of end-Permian mass extinction, is neither isochronous across the basin nor unique. Rather, the lithofacies represents avulsion channel-fill deposits within aggradational landscapes. South African models for the response of terrestrial ecosystems to the perturbation in the marine realm require critical reevaluation.

You do not currently have access to this article.