High-frequency fluctuations in redox conditions during the latest Permian mass extinction

C. Mettam, A. L. Zerkle, M. W. Claire, G. Izon, C. J. Junium, R. J. Twitchett

Research output: Research - peer-reviewArticle

Abstract

New high-resolution geochemical and sedimentological data from Fiskegrav, East Greenland, reveal fluctuations in marine redox conditions associated with the final disappearance of bioturbating organisms during the latest Permian mass extinction (LPME). Sedimentological observations imply a transgressive episode, and associated geochemical evidence for decreasing oxygen availability and the establishment of persistently ferruginous (Fe2+-rich) conditions implies the shoreward migration of oxygen deficient waters. The long-term decline in dissolved oxygen (DO) availability could have been exacerbated by increasing water temperatures, reducing the solubility of oxygen and promoting thermal stratification. Mixing of the water column could have been further inhibited by freshwater influxes that could have generated salinity contrasts that reinforced thermal stratification. Enhanced runoff could also have increased the delivery of nutrients to the marine shelf, stimulating biological oxygen demand (BOD). During the transition to persistently ferruginous conditions we identify intervals of intermittent benthic meiofaunal recolonization, events that we attribute to small transient increases in DO availability. The mechanism controlling these fluctuations remains speculative, but given the possible centennial- to millennial-scale frequency of these changes, we hypothesise that the mid-latitude setting of Fiskegrav during the Late Permian was sensitive to changes in atmospheric circulation patterns, which may have influenced local precipitation and intermittently modulated some of the processes promoting anoxia.

LanguageEnglish (US)
JournalPalaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2017

Fingerprint

redox conditions
mass extinction
Permian
oxygen
extinction
dissolved oxygen
stratification
temperature profiles
anoxia
recolonization
biochemical oxygen demand
atmospheric circulation
solubility
water temperature
water column
runoff
salinity
nutrient
water
organism

Keywords

  • East Greenland
  • Fe speciation
  • Ferruginous sea
  • Palaeoenvironment
  • Stable isotopes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oceanography
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Earth-Surface Processes
  • Palaeontology

Cite this

High-frequency fluctuations in redox conditions during the latest Permian mass extinction. / Mettam, C.; Zerkle, A. L.; Claire, M. W.; Izon, G.; Junium, C. J.; Twitchett, R. J.

In: Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 2017.

Research output: Research - peer-reviewArticle

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