Abstract

At a time when all continents were finally arrayed in their Pangea supercontinental configuration (250 ± 50 Ma), Earth's stratigraphy records a global and very abrupt coal discontinuity. From the Tartarian stage of the Late Permian to the Middle Triassic, reduced coal productivity and/or preservation overlaps with a period of anomalous oceanic and atmospheric decrease in 13C, as recorded in marine carbonates and organic matter, and terrestrial plant and animal fossils from the Northern and Southern hemispheres. During the same short period, the peripheral margin of the entire supercontinent Pangea, except for the southern shores of Tethys, was effectively under compressive stress. This unique tectonic state caused deformation and uplift of coal-bearing foreland basins and oxidation of Pangea's vast peat deposits. The latter resulted in a rapid, massive 13C -depleted CO2 flux into the atmosphere, which in turn may have forced global warming.

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