The Siberian Traps large igneous province (STLIP) was the likely trigger for the ca. 252 Ma latest Permian mass extinction (LPME), but direct evidence for global volcanic effects on land remains rare. Here, we used mercury (Hg) enrichments, a proxy for ancient volcanic activity, to assess volcanic inputs to two terrestrial Permian-Triassic boundary (PTB) sections that were separated by thousands of kilometers and represent different latitudinal zones—the periequatorial Lubei section (South China craton) and the high-latitude (40–60°N) Dalongkou section (Junggar terrane). Both sections exhibit strong Hg enrichment within a discrete (≤40 m) stratigraphic window representing the LPME. At Lubei, this interval is also characterized by negative mass-independent fractionation (MIF) of odd Hg isotopes, consistent with massive volcanogenic and/or terrestrial Hg inputs. These findings are significant in documenting Hg spikes and negative MIF excursions near the PTB in terrestrial sections for the first time, providing evidence of the global influence of the STLIP, as well as in demonstrating at high stratigraphic resolution its synchronicity with the PTB negative carbon-isotope excursion (CIE), supporting a common global cause for these anomalies.
Mercury evidence of intense volcanic effects on land during the Permian-Triassic transition
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Jun Shen, Jianxin Yu, Jiubin Chen, Thomas J. Algeo, Guozhen Xu, Qinglai Feng, Xiao Shi, Noah J. Planavsky, Wenchao Shu, Shucheng Xie; Mercury evidence of intense volcanic effects on land during the Permian-Triassic transition. Geology doi: https://doi.org/10.1130/G46679.1
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