Impact, volcanism, global changes, and mass extinction

Impact, volcanism, global changes, and mass extinction

Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 441 (2016) 1–3 Contents lists available at ScienceDirect Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palae...

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Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 441 (2016) 1–3

Contents lists available at ScienceDirect

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Impact, volcanism, global changes, and mass extinction

1. Introduction Over the last 30 years, considerable research efforts have been directed toward understanding the context and nature of environmental changes that occurred immediately prior to, at, and after the five major Phanerozoic mass extinctions. Actually, earth volcanic activity linked to Large Igneous Provinces (LIPs) is one of the two leading scenarios proposed to explain the pattern of mass extinctions in the Phanerozoic, the other involving asteroid impacts. Recent multi-disciplinary efforts demonstrated a correlation between continental flood basalt (CFB) volcanism and major environmental catastrophes associated with four out of the five largest Phanerozoic mass extinctions (e.g. Wignall, 2001; Courtillot and Renne, 2003; Courtillot, 2012). Unique among these is the end-Cretaceous mass extinction, which is potentially coincident with both the Chicxulub bolide impact and the Deccan Trap eruptions. However, this link remains controversial because, for most LIPs, there is no direct evidence of the mass extinction within the volcanic sequences. For instance, the synchronism of LIPs and mass extinction is identified by comparison of accurate Ar–Ar and U–Pb dating of continental flood basalts with the age of the mass extinction recorded in marine sediments (Blackburn et al., 2013; Keller, 2014; Renne et al., 2015; Schoene et al., 2015). LIP eruptions are extremely large volumes of tholeiitic continental flood basalts with total thickness of several kilometers, generally associated with deep mantle plumes and opening of ocean basins. They occur within a time span of a million years or less (Chenet et al., 2008; Chenet et al., 2009; Courtillot and Fluteau, 2014) and could have a strong impact on the climate by the release of huge amounts of carbon dioxide, methane, and acid compounds (H2S, HCl, HF) into the atmosphere (Self et al., 2008; Callegaro et al., 2014), leading to ocean acidification and global cooling/warming climate changes (e.g. Gertsch et al., 2011; Abrajevitch et al., 2013; Font et al., 2014; Abrajevitch et al., 2015; Punekar et al., 2015). These gasses are sourced from both the mantle and the sedimentary rocks heated while the magma was transported through the uppermost crust. However, the mechanisms by which LIP eruptions and degassing may lead to global climate changes and mass extinctions are still poorly known. On a global basis, the stress induced by volcanism depends on the type (intrusive or eruptive) and size of the volcanic province, the amounts and fluxes of volatiles released, but more critically, on the rate at which eruptions took place, which for the Deccan Traps is estimated at less than 1 Ma for the whole volcanic pile (3500 m) and less than a decade for single eruptive events (Chenet et al., 2008, 2009; Schoene et al., 2015). Reconstructing the volcanic history of LIPs and searching for their potential signature in the marine sedimentary records are therefore the next steps to unravel the role of LIPs in Phanerozoic mass extinctions. 0031-0182/© 2015 Published by Elsevier B.V.

The aims of this Special Issue on “Impact, Volcanism, Global Changes and Mass Extinction” are to better constrain the type, emplacement mode, and environmental consequences of LIPs and to search for the potential signature of the resulting paleoclimate and paleoenvironmental perturbations in continental and marine sedimentary records. A brief summary of each paper is given below.

2. Large Igneous Provinces: Type, emplacement and environmental consequences Morgan T. Jones and others provide a concise review of the emplacement mode of LIPs and a general overview of volcanic gasses in order to discuss the environmental consequences of LIPs on the global carbon and sulfur cycles. The authors also highlight how the environmental impact can vary according to the emplacement mode, its duration, and the style of the eruptions. Peter E. Marshall and others provide new field observations of the Blackfella Rochole Member (BRM) from the mid-Cambrian Giant Lavas of the Kalkarindji Province (Australia), as well as estimates of the amount of SO2 released. The authors conclude that the BRM alone was unlikely to have had a major global effect on the Cambrian environment. Dougal. A. Jerram and others provide new field observations of the extrusive rocks from the northwestern part of the Siberian Traps and questioned the notion of province-scale explosive volcanism in Siberia. The distribution of explosive volcanic facies is strongly linked to the location of vent/pipe structures sourced from the sedimentary basins beneath. The authors discuss the causal relationship between deep magma–sediment interactions, explosive eruptions, and the resulting environmental stress that initiated the end-Permian mass extinction. Alexander G. Polozov and others explore the link between the endPermian crisis and the Siberian Traps by studying basalt pipes from the Tunguska Basin (Siberia, Russia). The large number of pipes and their mineralogical assemblage suggest high temperature interactions with evaporites within the pipe conduit, resulting in the degassing of huge amounts of halogen-rich volatiles, a process that may have played a major role in the end-Permian crisis. Dougal. A. Jerram and others provide new field observations from the Lake Er Hai area, SW China, in order to study the emplacement mode of the mid-Permian Emeishan LIP and its potential paleoenvironmental effects. The authors suggest that emplacement occurred predominantly in a sub-marine setting with significant volcanic water interaction. This has implications for the regional and global climate effects of flood volcanism and demonstrates that the emplacement of the Emeishan LIP is not always associated with regional uplift.



Guillaume Paris and others use the numerical model GEOCLIM to explore the possible connections between the CAMP emplacement and the global carbon cycle perturbations. The authors show that short-lived CO2 peaks can generate ocean acidification. Their model also succeeds in reproducing paleosoil-based CO2 reconstructions across the Triassic–Jurassic boundary. Stephane Polteau and others date and map out the Early Cretaceous Barents Sea Sill Complex (200,000 km3) from the High Artic Large Igneous Province (HALIP). The authors estimate that up to 20,000 Gt of carbon are potentially mobilized from the sill contact aureole. They suggest that rapid release of aureole greenhouse gasses (methane) may have triggered the Oceanic Anoxic Event 1a and the associated negative δ13C excursion in the Early Aptian. 3. LIP, Bolide Impact and Global Climate Changes: their signatures in the marine and continental sedimentary records Paula Mateo and others examine reference KPg sections from the North Atlantic deep sea and document that they include several sedimentary hiatuses. They show that the mass wasting deposits originally assigned to the KPg boundary are actually Danian in age and that reworked impact spherules are commonly observed in lower Danian sediments. Their study demonstrates that mass wasting deposits and impact spherules are not reliable markers to date the age of the Chicxulub impact. Jahnavi Punekar and others explore the environmental conditions during the uppermost Maastrichtian zone CF1 leading up to the mass extinction, by documenting and comparing the planktic foraminiferal records, carbonate dissolution effects, stable isotopes, and magnetic susceptibility in France (Bidart), Austria (Gamsbach), and Tunisia (Elles). The authors show that the uppermost Plummerita hantkeninoides zone CF1 below the KPg boundary in Bidart and Gambsach is associated with an interval of low magnetic susceptibility and carbonate dissolution, both features interpreted to result from ocean acidification linked to Deccan Phase-2 and leading up to the mass extinction. Gerta Keller and others focus on the late Maastrichtian record of major climate, evolution, and extinction extremes from the Indian Ocean through the Tethys and Gulf of Mexico in order to unravel potential links between volcanism, rapid climate changes, and evolutionary diversification. The authors show that extreme warm events coeval with Deccan and the Ninetyeast Ridge volcanism corresponded to high-stress environments, dwarfing, and blooms of disaster opportunist species. They point out that Chicxulub may have been a contributor, rather than causal factor in the end-Cretaceous mass extinction. Nicolas Thibault and Dorothée Husson provide new cyclostratigraphic and palaeontological data (nannofossil) of the late Maastrichtian Indian Ocean and the Boreal epicontinental Chalk Sea in order to study climate fluctuations and sea-surface water circulation patterns. Their results suggest major sea-surface currents during the late Maastrichtian. A global correlation between a drop in nannofossil species richness and Deccan warming is observed. Return to high species richness occurred in the last 100/140 ky before KPg boundary. Alicia Fantasia and others study the mineralogy and geochemistry of continental sediments interbedded within the Deccan lava flows in order to unravel the paleoenvironmental changes associated with Deccan volcanism. Clay minerals suggest a semi-arid climate with strong seasonality. Stronger degradation of organic matter and higher chemical alteration indexes feature the most voluminous Deccan phase-2. Eric Font and others examine the magnetic mineralogy in the interbedded sediments studied by Alicia Fantasia and others in order to search for evidences of paleoenvironment acidification induced by Deccan Phase-2 gas emissions. The authors show that the deposits associated to the uppermost Deccan Phase 2 have peculiar mineralogy characterized by very low magnetic susceptibility and presence of ubiquitous Fe–Ca–Ce vanadates that are consistent features with increased acidity, likely due to cumulative effects of Deccan aerosols.

Steven Mueller and others study climate variability during the Carnian (Middle and Upper Triassic) Pluvial Phase, marked by globally increased humidity. They use a quantitative palynological approach to evaluate the Lunz am See section in the northern Calcareous Alps of Austria. Their study shows strong similarities with other western Tethys regions and supports the idea of a wide-ranging even global Carnian Pluvial Phase. Jairo Savian and others use rock magnetic techniques to study the occurrence of magnetotactic bacteria (magnetofossil) in pelagic sediments from the equatorial Indian Ocean during the Middle Eocene Climatic Optimum (MECO). The authors identified enhanced magnetofossil contents during the MECO event, a feature that suggests favorable ocean conditions provided essential iron for magnetite biomineralization at this time. Table of Contents Large Igneous Provinces: typology, emplacement and environmental consequences 1. Jones M. T. et al. The effects of large igneous provinces on the global carbon and sulphur cycles. 2. Marshall P.E. et al. The Giant Lavas of Kalkarindji: Rubbly pāhoehoe lava in an ancient continental flood basalt province. 3. Jerram D. A. et al. The onset of flood volcanism in the north-western part of the Siberian Traps: Explosive volcanism versus effusive lava flows. 4. Polozov A. G. et al. The basalt pipes of the Tunguska Basin (Siberia, Russia): High temperature processes and volatile degassing into the end-Permian atmosphere. 5. Jerram D. A. et al. Submarine palaeoenvironments during Emeishan flood basalt volcanism, SW China: Implications for plumelithosphere interaction during the Capitanian, Middle Permian (‘end Guadalupian’) extinction event. 6. Paris G. et al. Geochemical consequences of intense pulse-like degassing during the onset of the Central Atlantic Magmatic Province. 7. Polteau S. et al. The Early Cretaceous Barents Sea Sill Complex: Distribution, 40Ar/39Ar geochronology, and implications for carbon gas formation. LIP, Bolide Impact and Global Climate Changes: their signatures in the marine and continental sedimentary records 8. Mateo P. et al. Mass wasting and hiatuses during the CretaceousTertiary transition in the North Atlantic: Relationship to the Chicxulub impact? 9. Punekar J. et al. A multi-proxy approach to decode the endCretaceous mass extinction. 10. Keller G. et al. Upheavals during the Late Maastrichtian: Volcanism, climate and faunal events preceding the end-Cretaceous mass extinction. 11. Thibault N. and D. Husson. Climatic fluctuations and sea-surface water circulation patterns at the end of the Cretaceous era: Calcareous nannofossil evidence. 12. Fantasia A. et al. Palaeoenvironmental changes associated with Deccan volcanism, examples from terrestrial deposits from Central India. 13. Font E. et al. Tracing acidification induced by Deccan Phase 2 volcanism. 14. Mueller S. et al. Climate variability during the Carnian Pluvial Phase – A quantitative palynological study of the Carnian sedimentary succession at Lunz am See, Northern Calcareous Alps, Austria. 15. Savian J. et al. Environmental magnetic implications of magnetofossil occurrence during the Middle Eocene Climatic Optimum (MECO) in pelagic sediments from the equatorial Indian Ocean.


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Punekar, J., Keller, G., Khozyem, H., Adatte, T., Font, E., Spangenberg, J., 2015. A multiproxy approach to decode the end-Cretaceous mass extinction. In: Font, Eric, Adatte, Thierry, Planke, Sverre, Svensen, Henrik, Krushner, Wolfram (Eds.), Paleogeography, Paleoclimatology, Paleoecology Special Issue on "Impact, Volcanism, Global Changes and Mass Extinction. Renne, P., Sprain, C.J., Richards, M.A., Self, S., Vanderkluysen, L., Pande, K., 2015. State shift in Deccan volcanism at the Cretaceous–Paleogene boundary, possibly induced by impact. Science 350, 76–78. Schoene, B., Samperton, K.M., Eddy, M.P., Keller, G., Adatte, T., Bowring, S.A., Khadri, S.F.R., Gertsch, B., 2015. U-Pb geochronology of the Deccan Traps and relation to the endCretaceous mass extinction. Science 347, 182–184. Self, S., Blake, S., Sharma, K., Widdowson, M., Sephton, S., 2008. Sulfur and chlorine in Late Cretaceous Deccan magmas and eruptive gas release. Science 319, 1654–1657. Wignall, P.B., 2001. Large igneous provinces and mass extinctions. Earth Sci. Rev. 53, 1–33.

Eric Font IDL-UL, Instituto Dom Luís, Universidade de Lisboa, Lisboa, Portugal Corresponding author at: IDL-FCUL, Instituo Dom Luiz, Universidade de Lisboa, Edifício C8-8.3.22, Campo Grande, 1749-016 Lisboa, Portugal. Tel.: +351 217500811. E-mail address: [email protected] Thierry Adatte ISTE, Geopolis, CH-1015 Lausanne, Switzerland Sverre Planke Volcanic Basin Petroleum Research, Oslo Innovation Park, Oslo, Norway Henrik Svensen Center for Earth Evolution and Dynamics (CEED), University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway Wolfram Michael Kürschner Department of Geosciences and CEED, University of Oslo, PO Box 1047, Blindern, 0316 Oslo, Norway