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Abrupt Changes at the Permian/Triassic Boundary: Tempo of Events from High-Resolution CyclostratigraphyThe Permian/Triassic (P/Tr) boundary (251.4 +/- 3 Myr) is marked by the most severe mass extinction in the geologic record. Recently, precise absolute dating has bracketed the marine extinctions and associated carbon-isotope anomaly within less than 1 Myr. We improve this resolution through high-resolution stratigraphy across the P/Tr boundary in the 331-m Gartnerkofel-1 core and nearby Reppwand outcrop section (Carnic Alps, Austria) utilizing FFT and wavelet timeseries analyses of cyclic components in down-hole core logs of density and natural gamma-ray intensity, and carbon-isotopic ratios of bulk samples. The wavelet analysis indicates continuity of deposition across the P/Tr boundary interval, and the timeseries analyses show evidence for persistent cycles in the ratio of approximately 40: 10: 4.7: 2.3 meters, correlated with Milankovitch-band orbital cycles of approximately 412: 100: 40: 20 kyr (eccentricity 1 and 2, obliquity, and precession), and giving a consistent average sedimentation rate of approximately 10 cm/1,000 yr. Milankovitch periods in delta C-13 and density in these shallow-water carbonates were most likely the result of climatically induced oscillations of sea level and climate, coupled with changes in ocean circulation and productivity, that affected sedimentation. Fluctuations in gamma radiation reflect varying input of clay minerals and the presence of shaly interbeds. Throughout the P/Tr boundary interval in the core, the 100,000-year eccentricity cycle seems to be dominant. Weaker obliquity and precession cycles are in line with the location of the Austrian section in the latest Permian, close to the Equator in the western bight of the Tethys, where obliquity and precessional effects on seasonal contrast might be subdued. Using the improved resolution provided by cycle analysis in the GK-1 core, we find that the dramatic change in the faunal record that marks the P/Tr boundary takes place over less than 6m, or less than 60,000 years. In the nearby Reppwand outcrop section, the same faunal changes occurs over only 0.8 m or about 8,000 years, close to the limit of time-resolution induced by bioturbation and reworking in these sediments. The sharp negative global carbon-isotope shift took place within less than or equal to 40,000 yr, and the isotope excursions persisted for approximately 480,000 yr into the Early Triassic. The results indicate that the severe marine faunal event that marks the P/Tr boundary was very sudden, perhaps less than the resolution window in the GK-1 core, and suggest a catastrophic cause. The wavelet-analysis approach to high-resolution cyclostratigraphy can be applied to other P/Tr boundary sections, and when combined with precise absolute dating and magnetostratigraphic methods promises a significant increase in resolution in determining the correlation and tempo of the end-Permian extinctions and related events worldwide.
Document ID
Document Type
Conference Paper
Rampino, M. R.
(NASA Goddard Inst. for Space Studies New York, NY United States)
Prokoph, A.
(Ottawa Univ. Ontario Canada)
Adler, A. C.
(New York Univ. New York, NY United States)
Date Acquired
August 20, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 2000
Publication Information
Publication: Catastrophic Events and Mass Extinctions: Impacts and Beyond
Subject Category
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.

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IDRelationTitle20010007049Analytic PrimaryCatastrophic Events and Mass Extinctions: Impacts and Beyond
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