Impacts of a massive release of methane and hydrogen sulfide on oxygen and ozone during the late Permian mass extinction

Kunio Kaiho, Seizi Koga

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The largest mass extinction of animals and plants in both the ocean and on land occurred in the late Permian (252Ma), largely coinciding with the largest flood basalt volcanism event in Siberia and an oceanic anoxic/euxinic event. We investigated the impacts of a massive release of methane (CH4) from the Siberian igneous province and the ocean and/or hydrogen sulfide (H2S) from the euxinic ocean on oxygen and ozone using photochemical model calculations. Our calculations indicated that an approximate of 14% decrease in atmospheric O2 levels would have occurred in the case of a large combined CH4 and H2S flux to the atmosphere, whereas an approximate of 8 to 10% decrease would have occurred from the CH4 flux and oxidation of all H2S in the ocean. The slight decrease in atmospheric O2 levels may have contributed to the extinction event. We demonstrate for the first time that a massive release of CH4 from the Siberian igneous province and a coincident massive release of CH4 and H2S did not cause ozone collapse. A collapse of stratospheric ozone leading to an increase in UV is not supported by the maximum model input levels for CH4 and H2S. These conclusions on O2 and O3 are correspondent to every H2S release percentages from the ocean to the atmosphere.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)91-101
Number of pages11
JournalGlobal and Planetary Change
Volume107
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2013 Aug

Keywords

  • Carbon isotope
  • Hydrogen sulfide
  • Mass extinction
  • Methane
  • Model
  • Oxygen
  • Ozone
  • Permian-Triassic
  • Sulfur isotope

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Oceanography

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