Abstract

Trace-element abundance anomalies have been found at the Mississippian/Pennsylvania boundary at sites in Oklahoma and Texas where the boundary has been precisely located on the basis of an abrupt change in conodont diversity and species composition. Enriched elements include osmium, indium, platinum, chromium, most chalcophiles, rare earths, and uranium. The anomalies are more intense (e.g., Os = 4 ppb, Ir = 0.38 ppb, Pt = 6 ppb, Cr = 12000 ppm, U = 380 ppm) and peisist through a thicker interval at the south-central Texas locality than in Oklahoma, and in bolh locations the anomalies are associated with an increase in phosphate content of the rocks. There is no tangible evidence of an asteroid or comet impact source for the excess Pt-group elements and fauna! crisis. The cause of the elemental enrichments and the biological disturbance may possibly be related to a change in the ocean chemistry of the Paleozoic seaway, such as increased upwelling, stagnation, or nearby submarine volcanism.

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