Organic geochemical analyses of sedimentary organic matter from a marine Permian-Triassic transition sequence in northeastern Italy reveal a significant influx of land-derived diagenetic products of polysaccharides. This unique event reflects massive soil erosion resulting from destruction of land vegetation due to volcanogenic disturbance of atmospheric chemistry. The excessive supply of soil materials to the oceans provides a direct link between terrestrial and marine ecological crises, suggesting that ecosystem collapse on land could have contributed to the end-Permian marine extinctions.

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