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Ocean acidification and the Permo-Triassic mass extinction

  • M. O. Clarkson
  • S. A. Kasemann
  • R. A. Wood
  • T. M. Lenton
  • S. J. Daines
  • S. Richoz
  • F. Ohnemueller
  • A. Meixner
  • S. W. Poulton
  • E. T. Tipper
Publishing year: 2015-04-10
Language: English
Pages: 229-232
Publication/Series: Science
Volume: 348
Issue: 6231
Document type: Journal article
Publisher: American Association for the Advancement of Science

Abstract english

Ocean acidification triggered by Siberian Trap volcanism was a possible kill mechanism for the Permo-Triassic Boundary mass extinction, but direct evidence for an acidification event is lacking. We present a high-resolution seawater pH record across this interval, using boron isotope data combined with a quantitative modeling approach. In the latest Permian, increased ocean alkalinity primed the Earth system with a low level of atmospheric CO2 and a high ocean buffering capacity. The first phase of extinction was coincident with a slow injection of carbon into the atmosphere, and ocean pH remained stable. During the second extinction pulse, however, a rapid and large injection of carbon caused an abrupt acidification event that drove the preferential loss of heavily calcified marine biota.


  • ISSN: 0036-8075
Sylvain Richoz
E-mail: sylvain [dot] richoz [at] geol [dot] lu [dot] se

Senior lecturer

Lithosphere and Biosphere Science

+46 46 222 78 89

Sölvegatan 12, Lund