Close-up of the end-Permian mass extinction horizon recorded in the Meishan section, South China: Sedimentary, elemental, and biotic characterization and a negative shift of sulfate sulfur isotope ratio

Kunio Kaiho, Zhong Qiang Chen, Hodaka Kawahata, Yoshimichi Kajiwara, Hisao Sato

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

63 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The Permian/Triassic (P/Tr) boundary beds of the Meishan section, South China, have been re-studied in detail based on complete samples across the P/Tr transition. Under the microscope, the end-Permian mass extinction horizon is calibrated to a 12-mm stratal interval, the top being 19 mm below the top of Bed 24e of the Changhsing Formation. This abrupt disappearance of skeletal fragments of major benthos characterizes the end-Permian extinction event, suggesting a catastrophic event. An abrupt decrease in the 34S/32S ratios of seawater sulfate is confirmed to coincide with the end-Permian event horizon. The sulfur isotope event is thought to have been caused by an overturn of a stratified ocean dominated by H2S, implying coincidence of the oceanic mixing and the mass extinction. Coincident Siberian flood volcanism may have triggered a long-term (> 103 years) cooling leading an ocean mixing. A presumed comet impact to the ocean could have directly caused ocean mixing and the mass extinction.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)396-405
Number of pages10
JournalPalaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology
Volume239
Issue number3-4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2006 Sep 25

Keywords

  • S-34/S-32
  • element
  • fossil
  • mass extinction
  • permian
  • triassic

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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

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