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TitleThe Capitanian (Guadalupian, Middle Permian) mass extinction in NW Pangea (Borup Fiord, Arctic Canada): a global crisis driven by volcanism and anoxia
AuthorBond, D P G; Wignall, P B; Grasby, S EORCID logo
SourceGeological Society of America Bulletin vol. 132, 5-6, 2020 p. 931-942, Open Access logo Open Access
Alt SeriesNatural Resources Canada, Contribution Series 20200199
PublisherGeological Society of America
Mediapaper; on-line; digital
RelatedThis publication is related to The Capitanian (Guadalupian, Middle Permian) mass extinction in NW Pangea (Borup Fiord, Arctic Canada): A global crisis driven by volcanism and anoxia
File formatpdf
ProvinceNorthwest Territories
Lat/Long WENS-120.0000 -70.0000 85.0000 75.0000
Subjectsenvironmental geology; History and Archaeology; igneous and metamorphic petrology; Nature and Environment; Science and Technology; volcanism; Guadalupian; igneous rocks; trace element analyses; trace metals; Borup Fiord Formation; Global warming; Permian
Illustrationslocation maps; photographs; logs; tables; plots; stratigraphic columns
Released2019 08 30
AbstractUntil recently, the biotic crisis that occurred within the Capitanian Stage (Middle Permian, ca. 262 Ma) was known only from equatorial (Tethyan) latitudes, and its global extent was poorly resolved. The discovery of a Boreal Capitanian crisis in Spitsbergen, with losses of similar magnitude to those in low latitudes, indicated that the event was geographically widespread, but further non-Tethyan records are needed to confirm this as a true mass extinction. The cause of this crisis is similarly controversial: While the temporal coincidence of the extinction and the onset of volcanism in the Emeishan large igneous province in China provides a clear link between those phenomena, the proximal kill mechanism is unclear. Here, we present an integrated fossil, pyrite framboid, and geo-chemical study of the Middle to Late Permian section of the Sverdrup Basin at Borup Fiord, Ellesmere Island, Arctic Canada. As in Spitsbergen, the Capitanian extinction is recorded by brachiopods in a chert/limestone succession 30-40 m below the Permian-Triassic boundary. The extinction level shows elevated concentrations of redox-sensitive trace metals (Mo, V, U, Mn), and contemporary pyrite framboid populations are dominated by small individuals, suggestive of a causal role for anoxia in the wider Boreal crisis. Mercury concentrations-a proxy for volcanism-are generally low throughout the succession but are elevated at the extinction level, and this spike withstands normalization to total organic carbon, total sulfur, and aluminum. We suggest this is the smoking gun of eruptions in the distant Emeishan large igneous province, which drove high-latitude anoxia via global warming. Although the global Capitanian extinction might have had different regional mechanisms, like the more famous extinction at the end of the Permian, each had its roots in large igneous province volcanism.

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