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The Capitanian (Guadalupian, Middle Permian) mass extinction in NW Pangea (Borup Fiord, Arctic Canada); a global crisis driven by volcanism and anoxia

David P. G. Bond, Paul B. Wignall and Stephen E. Grasby
The Capitanian (Guadalupian, Middle Permian) mass extinction in NW Pangea (Borup Fiord, Arctic Canada); a global crisis driven by volcanism and anoxia
Geological Society of America Bulletin (August 2019) 132 (5-6): 931-942

Abstract

Until recently, the biotic crisis that occurred within the Capitanian Stage (Middle Permian, ca. 262 Ma) was known only from equatorial (Tethyan) latitudes, and its global extent was poorly resolved. The discovery of a Boreal Capitanian crisis in Spitsbergen, with losses of similar magnitude to those in low latitudes, indicated that the event was geographically widespread, but further non-Tethyan records are needed to confirm this as a true mass extinction. The cause of this crisis is similarly controversial: While the temporal coincidence of the extinction and the onset of volcanism in the Emeishan large igneous province in China provides a clear link between those phenomena, the proximal kill mechanism is unclear. Here, we present an integrated fossil, pyrite framboid, and geochemical study of the Middle to Late Permian section of the Sverdrup Basin at Borup Fiord, Ellesmere Island, Arctic Canada. As in Spitsbergen, the Capitanian extinction is recorded by brachiopods in a chert/limestone succession 30-40 m below the Permian-Triassic boundary. The extinction level shows elevated concentrations of redox-sensitive trace metals (Mo, V, U, Mn), and contemporary pyrite framboid populations are dominated by small individuals, suggestive of a causal role for anoxia in the wider Boreal crisis. Mercury concentrations-a proxy for volcanism-are generally low throughout the succession but are elevated at the extinction level, and this spike withstands normalization to total organic carbon, total sulfur, and aluminum. We suggest this is the smoking gun of eruptions in the distant Emeishan large igneous province, which drove high-latitude anoxia via global warming. Although the global Capitanian extinction might have had different regional mechanisms, like the more famous extinction at the end of the Permian, each had its roots in large igneous province volcanism.


ISSN: 0016-7606
EISSN: 1943-2674
Coden: BUGMAF
Serial Title: Geological Society of America Bulletin
Serial Volume: 132
Serial Issue: 5-6
Title: The Capitanian (Guadalupian, Middle Permian) mass extinction in NW Pangea (Borup Fiord, Arctic Canada); a global crisis driven by volcanism and anoxia
Affiliation: University of Hull, Department of Geography, Geology and Environment, Hull, United Kingdom
Pages: 931-942
Published: 20190830
Text Language: English
Publisher: Geological Society of America (GSA), Boulder, CO, United States
References: 69
Accession Number: 2019-081282
Categories: Stratigraphy
Document Type: Serial
Bibliographic Level: Analytic
Illustration Description: illus. incl. 3 tables, geol. sketch map
N76°00'00" - N84°00'00", W92°00'00" - W60°00'00"
Secondary Affiliation: University of Leeds, GBR, United KingdomCanadian Geological Survey, CAN, CanadaUniversity of Calgary, CAN, Canada
Country of Publication: United States
Secondary Affiliation: GeoRef, Copyright 2020, American Geosciences Institute. Reference includes data from GeoScienceWorld, Alexandria, VA, United States. Reference includes data supplied by the Geological Society of America, Boulder, CO, United States
Update Code: 201943
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