Chemostratigraphic Evidence of Deccan Volcanism from the Marine Osmium Isotope Record

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Science  21 Nov 2003:
Vol. 302, Issue 5649, pp. 1392-1395
DOI: 10.1126/science.1089209

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Continental flood basalt (CFB) volcanism is hypothesized to have played a causative role in global climate change and mass extinctions. Uncertainties associated with radiometric dating preclude a clear chronological assessment of the environmental consequences of CFB volcanism. Our results document a 25% decline in the marine 187Os/188Os record that predates the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary (KTB) and coincides with late Maastrichtian warming. We argue that this decline provides a chemostratigraphic marker of Deccan volcanism and thus constitutes compelling evidence that the main environmental consequence of Deccan volcanism was a transient global warming event of 3° to 5°C that is fully resolved from the KTB mass extinction.

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