Altered River Morphology in South Africa Related to the Permian-Triassic Extinction

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Science  08 Sep 2000:
Vol. 289, Issue 5485, pp. 1740-1743
DOI: 10.1126/science.289.5485.1740

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The Permian-Triassic transition in the Karoo Basin of South Africa was characterized by a rapid and apparently basin-wide change from meandering to braided river systems, as evidenced by preserved sedimentary facies. This radical changeover in river morphology is consistent with geomorphic consequences stemming from a rapid and major die-off of rooted plant life in the basin. Evidence from correlative nonmarine strata elsewhere in the world containing fluvial Permian-Triassic boundary sections suggests that a catastrophic terrestrial die-off of vegetation was a global event, producing a marked increase in sediment yield as well as contributing to the global δ13C excursion across the Permian-Triassic boundary.

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