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Volcanic effects on microplankton during the Permian-Triassic transition (Shangsi and Xinmin, south China)

Shen Jun, Lei Yong, Thomas J. Algeo, Feng Qinglai, Thomas Servais, Yu Jianxin and Zhou Lian
Volcanic effects on microplankton during the Permian-Triassic transition (Shangsi and Xinmin, south China)
Palaios (August 2013) 28 (8): 552-567


The end-Permian mass extinction, the most severe biocrisis in Earth history, has been attributed to major flood basalt volcanism, but direct evidence of volcanic effects on contemporaneous marine biotas is scarce. In this study, we examined the relationship of two components of the microplankton community (acritarchs and radiolarians) to volcanic ash deposits in two deepwater sections from South China (Shangsi and Xinmin). In these sections, each eruptive event was recorded as a volcanic couplet consisting of a pale, 0.1 to 3.0-cm-thick bentonite (altered volcanic ash) overlain by a dark, 0.1- to 1.0-cm-thick, organic-rich mudstone layer. Acritarchs were found in peak abundance in the mudstone overlying each ash layer but were otherwise present only in low concentrations in the background sediment. In contrast, radiolarians were rare in the volcanic couplets but frequently abundant in the background intervals. The thickest volcanic ash layers in both sections are found immediately below and above the latest Permian mass extinction (LPME) horizon. At this level, radiolarians underwent a major regional extinction but acritarchs reached their peak abundance, confirming their role as a disaster taxon. Above the LPME, long-spined and small spherical acritarchs declined more rapidly than short-spined forms. The preference of the short-spined acritarchs for neritic inner-shelf facies may indicate that such areas served as biotic refugia during intervals of extreme environmental stress. We infer that volcanic eruptions during the Permian-Triassic transition had both positive effects (e.g., increased nutrient supply) and negative effects (e.g., metal toxicity, lowered seawater pH, increased turbidity) on marine microplankton communities, the importance of which varied both spatially and temporally.

ISSN: 0883-1351
Serial Title: Palaios
Serial Volume: 28
Serial Issue: 8
Title: Volcanic effects on microplankton during the Permian-Triassic transition (Shangsi and Xinmin, south China)
Affiliation: China University of Geosciences, Laboratory of Geological Processes and Mineral Resources, Wuhan, China
Pages: 552-567
Published: 201308
Text Language: English
Publisher: Society for Sedimentary Geology, Tulsa, OK, United States
References: 108
Accession Number: 2013-082155
Categories: General paleontologyStratigraphy
Document Type: Serial
Bibliographic Level: Analytic
Annotation: IGCP Project No. 572
N26°04'00" - N26°04'00", E105°09'00" - E105°09'00"
N32°17'60" - N32°17'60", E105°28'00" - E105°28'00"
Secondary Affiliation: Universite Lille, FRA, France
Country of Publication: United States
Secondary Affiliation: GeoRef, Copyright 2017, American Geosciences Institute. Reference includes data from GeoScienceWorld, Alexandria, VA, United States. Reference includes data supplied by SEPM (Society for Sedimentary Geology), Tulsa, OK, United States
Update Code: 201348
Program Name: IGCPInternational Geological Correlation Programme
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