Articles

Comparative Earth History and Late Permian Mass Extinction

Science  26 Jul 1996:
Vol. 273, Issue 5274, pp. 452-457
DOI: 10.1126/science.273.5274.452

Abstract

The repeated association during the late Neoproterozoic Era of large carbon-isotopic excursions, continental glaciation, and stratigraphically anomalous carbonate precipitation provides a framework for interpreting the reprise of these conditions on the Late Permian Earth. A paleoceanographic model that was developed to explain these stratigraphically linked phenomena suggests that the overturn of anoxic deep oceans during the Late Permian introduced high concentrations of carbon dioxide into surficial environments. The predicted physiological and climatic consequences for marine and terrestrial organisms are in good accord with the observed timing and selectivity of Late Permian mass extinction.

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