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Geology tracks eruptions, earthquakes, erosion, extinctions & more
Date:7/12/2013

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Elevated pCO2 leading to Late Triassic extinction, photic zone euxinia and rising sea levels are comparable to conditions that occurred during the end-Permian event reported in Science in 2005. Such conditions will have occurred during all past episodes of rapid global warming and biotic crisis that are associated with similar rises in pCO2.


Molybdenum isotopic evidence for oxic marine conditions during the latest Permian extinction
Bernadette C. Proemse et al., Department of Geoscience, University of Calgary, 2500 University Drive, Calgary, Alberta T2N 1N4, Canada. First published on 11 July 2013, http://dx.doi.org/10.1130/G34466.1.

Ocean Anoxia did not cause the Latest Permian Extinction. With loss of over 90% of marine life, the Latest Permian Extinction, ~252 million years ago represents the most severe extinction event in Earth's history. Previous studies have suggested that strong oxygen depletion in the oceans was a principal cause of the extinction, and that marine life survived only in shallowest waters where wave action maintained oxygen levels. In this new study, novel techniques using molybdenum stable isotopes were applied to examine marine oxygen levels from shallow to deep waters during the extinction. Ancient sediments were collected that represent a gradient in the marine water depth, from sites now located in the Canadian High Arctic. Results show that the deepest part of the ocean turned anoxic (oxygen depleted), explaining a near complete loss of marine life. However, shallower shelf environments well below the base of storm waves, also lacking signs of life, showed oxygen rich conditions across the mass extinction horizon. This suggests that ocean anoxia was not a global phenomenon and cannot have been the main cause of the extinction. Other killing mechanisms responsible for the extinction remain uncertain, but may be a combin
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Contact: Kea Giles
kgiles@geosociety.org
Geological Society of America
Source:Eurekalert

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