Field of Science

New Data Linking the End-Triassic Extinction with the Central Atlantic Magmatic Province.

Out today in Science Express. This study also provides support for the accuracy of the astrochronologically tuned time scale proposed for the Late Triassic Newark Supergroup sequence.

Blackburn, T. J., Olsen, P. E., Bowring, S. A., McLean, N. M., Kent, D. V., Puffer, J., McHone, G., Rasbury, E. T., and M. Et-Touhami. 2013. Zircon U-Pb Geochronology Links the End-Triassic Extinction with the Central Atlantic Magmatic Province. Science Express. / 21 March 2013 / Page 1/ 10.1126/science.1234204

Abstract - The end-Triassic extinction is characterized by major losses in both terrestrial and  marine diversity, setting the stage for dinosaurs to dominate Earth for the next 136 million years. Despite the approximate coincidence between this extinction and  flood basalt volcanism, existing geochronologic dates have insufficient resolution  to confirm eruptive rates required to induce major climate perturbations. Here we present new zircon U-Pb geochronologic constraints on the age and duration of flood basalt volcanism within the Central Atlantic Magmatic Province. This chronology demonstrates synchroneity between the earliest volcanism and extinction, tests and corroborates the existing astrochronologic time scale, and shows that the release of magma and associated atmospheric flux occurred in four pulses over ~600,000 years, indicating expansive volcanism even as the biologic recovery was under way.