The cause of the Late Ordovician mass extinction (LOME) is widely debated, with glaciation, volcanism and oceanic redox fluctuations being proposed as possible drivers. Here, we apply a multi-proxy approach to deep water Iapetus Ocean samples from Dob's Linn, Scotland, to determine oceanic redox conditions and changes in chemical weathering intensity. We document major redox fluctuations between anoxic ferruginous and oxic conditions during the first, end-Katian extinction pulse, while the end-Hirnantian extinction phase witnessed more persistent anoxia. These two episodes were separated by oxic conditions and a major, short-lived decline in chemical weathering during the Hirnantian glaciation, suggesting that while global cooling may have placed stress on certain biota, it was unlikely the cause of the extinction crisis. Late Hirnantian anoxia persisted into the Silurian, with widespread euxinia resulting in global drawdown of redox-sensitive trace metals. Recent studies have identified a mid-Katian biotic crisis and recovery prior to the LOME, although the precise stratigraphic position is not yet defined. The mid-Katian record at Dob's Linn shows a major redox change, with dysoxic to anoxic-ferruginous deep ocean waters giving way to well-oxygenated conditions at this time. However, links between the mid-Katian biotic crisis and these redox changes remain unclear.

Supplementary material:https://doi.org/10.6084/m9.figshare.c.7315858

Thematic collection: This article is part of the Chemical Evolution of the Mid-Paleozoic Earth System and Biotic Response collection available at: https://www.lyellcollection.org/topic/collections/chemical-evolution-of-the-mid-paleozoic-earth-system

This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/)