Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Department of


Age and pattern of the southern high-latitude continental end-Permian extinction constrained by multiproxy analysis

Christopher R. Fielding, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Tracy D. Frank, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Stephen McLoughlin, Swedish Museum of Natural History
Vivi Vajda, Swedish Museum of Natural History
Chris Mays, Swedish Museum of Natural History
Allen P. Tevyaw, University of Nebraska - Lincoln
Arne Winguth, University of Texas at Arlington
Cornelia Winguth, University of Texas at Arlington
Robert S. Nicoll, Geoscience Australia
Malcolm Bocking, Bocking Associates
James L. Crowley, Boise State University

Document Type Article

© The Author(s) 2019

Open access


Past studies of the end-Permian extinction (EPE), the largest biotic crisis of the Phanerozoic, have not resolved the timing of events in southern high-latitudes. Here we use palynology coupled with high-precision CA-ID-TIMS dating of euhedral zircons from continental sequences of the Sydney Basin, Australia, to show that the collapse of the austral Permian Glossopteris flora occurred prior to 252.3 Ma (~370 kyrs before the main marine extinction). Weathering proxies indicate that floristic changes occurred during a brief climate perturbation in a regional alluvial landscape that otherwise experienced insubstantial change in fluvial style, insignificant reorganization of the depositional surface, and no abrupt aridification. Palaeoclimate modelling suggests a moderate shift to warmer summer temperatures and amplified seasonality in temperature across the EPE, and warmer and wetter conditions for all seasons into the Early Triassic. The terrestrial EPE and a succeeding peak in Ni concentration in the Sydney Basin correlate, respectively, to the onset of the primary extrusive and intrusive phases of the Siberian Traps Large Igneous Province.