Precisely dating the Frasnian–Famennian boundary: implications for the cause of the Late Devonian mass extinction

Published on Dec 1, 2018in Scientific Reports4.01
· DOI :10.1038/s41598-018-27847-7
L. M. E. Percival1
Estimated H-index: 1
(UNIL: University of Lausanne),
Joshua H.F.L. Davies8
Estimated H-index: 8
(University of Geneva)
+ 3 AuthorsKarl B. Föllmi32
Estimated H-index: 32
(UNIL: University of Lausanne)
The Frasnian–Famennian boundary records one of the most catastrophic mass extinctions of the Phanerozoic Eon. Several possible causes for this extinction have been suggested, including extra-terrestrial impacts and large-scale volcanism. However, linking the extinction with these potential causes is hindered by the lack of precise dating of either the extinction or volcanic/impact events. In this study, a bentonite layer in uppermost-Frasnian sediments from Steinbruch Schmidt (Germany) is re-analysed using CA-ID-TIMS U-Pb zircon geochronology in order to constrain the date of the Frasnian–Famennian extinction. A new age of 372.36 ± 0.053 Ma is determined for this bentonite, confirming a date no older than 372.4 Ma for the Frasnian–Famennian boundary, which can be further constrained to 371.93–371.78 Ma using a pre-existing Late Devonian age model. This age is consistent with previous dates, but is significantly more precise. When compared with published ages of the Siljan impact crater and basalts produced by large-scale volcanism, there is no apparent correlation between the extinction and either phenomenon, not clearly supporting them as a direct cause for the Frasnian–Famennian event. This result highlights an urgent need for further Late Devonian geochronological and chemostratigraphic work to better understand the cause(s) of this extinction.
  • References (74)
  • Citations (5)
Published on Jun 1, 2018in Geology5.01
Grzegorz Racki26
Estimated H-index: 26
(University of Silesia in Katowice),
Michał Rakociński10
Estimated H-index: 10
(University of Silesia in Katowice)
+ 1 AuthorsPaul B. Wignall58
Estimated H-index: 58
(University of Leeds)
The Frasnian-Famennian (F-F) global event, one of the five largest biotic crises of the Phanerozoic, has been inconclusively linked to rapid climatic perturbations promoted in turn by volcanic cataclysm, especially in the Viluy large igneous province (LIP) of Siberia. Conversely, the triggers of four other Phanerozoic mass extinction intervals have decisively been linked to LIPs, owing to documented mercury anomalies, shown as the diagnostic proxy. Here, we report multiple Hg enrichments in the ...
Published on Apr 1, 2018in Earth and Planetary Science Letters4.64
Damien Pas7
Estimated H-index: 7
(University of Liège),
Linda A. Hinnov34
Estimated H-index: 34
(GMU: George Mason University)
+ 3 AuthorsWei Liu1
Estimated H-index: 1
(China University of Geosciences)
Abstract The Late Devonian biosphere was affected by two of the most severe biodiversity crises in Earth's history, the Kellwasser and Hangenberg events near the Frasnian–Famennian (F–F) and the Devonian–Carboniferous (D–C) boundaries, respectively. Current hypotheses for the causes of the Late Devonian extinctions are focused on climate changes and associated ocean anoxia. Testing these hypotheses has been impeded by a lack of sufficient temporal resolution in paleobiological, tectonic and clim...
Published on Dec 1, 2017in Nature Communications11.88
David De Vleeschouwer13
Estimated H-index: 13
(Vrije Universiteit Brussel),
Anne-Christine Da Silva13
Estimated H-index: 13
(UU: Utrecht University)
+ 5 AuthorsPhilippe Claeys31
Estimated H-index: 31
(Vrije Universiteit Brussel)
The Late Devonian envelops one of Earth’s big five mass extinction events at the Frasnian–Famennian boundary (374 Ma). Environmental change across the extinction severely affected Devonian reef-builders, besides many other forms of marine life. Yet, cause-and-effect chains leading to the extinction remain poorly constrained as Late Devonian stratigraphy is poorly resolved, compared to younger cataclysmic intervals. In this study we present a global orbitally calibrated chronology across this mom...
Published on Dec 1, 2017in Nature Communications11.88
Seth D. Burgess8
Estimated H-index: 8
(USGS: United States Geological Survey),
James D. Muirhead12
Estimated H-index: 12
(SU: Syracuse University),
Samuel A. Bowring69
Estimated H-index: 69
(MIT: Massachusetts Institute of Technology)
Mass extinction events are short-lived and characterized by catastrophic biosphere collapse and subsequent reorganization. Their abrupt nature necessitates a similarly short-lived trigger, and large igneous province magmatism is often implicated. However, large igneous provinces are long-lived compared to mass extinctions. Therefore, if large igneous provinces are an effective trigger, a subinterval of magmatism must be responsible for driving deleterious environmental effects. The onset of Eart...
Published on Oct 1, 2017in Geology5.01
Huyue Song13
Estimated H-index: 13
(China University of Geosciences),
Haijun Song19
Estimated H-index: 19
(China University of Geosciences)
+ 6 AuthorsAriel D. Anbar56
Estimated H-index: 56
(ASU: Arizona State University)
Published on Aug 1, 2017in Nature Communications11.88
Joshua H.F.L. Davies8
Estimated H-index: 8
Andrea Marzoli22
Estimated H-index: 22
+ 3 AuthorsUrs Schaltegger50
Estimated H-index: 50
The cause of the end-Triassic extinction remains controversial. Here, the authors present U-Pb age data showing that magmatic activity occurred 100 kyr before the earliest known eruptions, which links to changes in climate and biotic records indicating the importance of understanding the intrusive record.
Lawrence M.E. Percival6
Estimated H-index: 6
(University of Oxford),
Micha Ruhl18
Estimated H-index: 18
(University of Oxford)
+ 3 AuthorsJessica H. Whiteside15
Estimated H-index: 15
(NOCS: National Oceanography Centre, Southampton)
Abstract The Central Atlantic Magmatic Province (CAMP) has long been proposed as having a causal relationship with the end-Triassic extinction event (∼201.5 Ma). In North America and northern Africa, CAMP is preserved as multiple basaltic units interbedded with uppermost Triassic to lowermost Jurassic sediments. However, it has been unclear whether this apparent pulsing was a local feature, or if pulses in the intensity of CAMP volcanism characterized the emplacement of the province as a whole. ...
Published on Jul 1, 2017in Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology2.62
David P.G. Bond10
Estimated H-index: 10
(University of Hull),
Stephen E. Grasby31
Estimated H-index: 31
(U of C: University of Calgary)
Abstract The temporal link between large igneous province (LIP) eruptions and at least half of the major extinctions of the Phanerozoic implies that large scale volcanism is the main driver of mass extinction. Here we review almost twenty biotic crises between the early Cambrian and end Cretaceous and explore potential causal mechanisms. Most extinctions are associated with global warming and proximal killers such as marine anoxia (including the Early/Middle Cambrian, the Late Ordovician, the in...
Published on Jun 1, 2017in Lithos3.91
O. P. Polyansky6
Estimated H-index: 6
(RAS: Russian Academy of Sciences),
Andrei V. Prokopiev14
Estimated H-index: 14
(RAS: Russian Academy of Sciences)
+ 5 AuthorsDmitry A. Vasiliev2
Estimated H-index: 2
(RAS: Russian Academy of Sciences)
Abstract This paper presents results from new 40 Ar/ 39 Ar isotope dating of nine mafic dykes from three large dyke swarms (Vilyui–Markha, Kontai–Dzherba, and Chara–Sinsk) of the Yakutsk–Vilyui large igneous province (LIP), in addition to a reconstruction of the subsidence history of the middle Palaeozoic Vilyui paleorift basin (eastern Siberian platform). All previously published 40 Ar/ 39 Ar and U–Pb dates are summarized. Statistical analysis of the dyke ages reveals repeated magmatic events i...
Cited By5
Published on May 20, 2019in Scientific Reports4.01
Man Lu (UA: University of Alabama), YueHan Lu11
Estimated H-index: 11
(UA: University of Alabama)
+ 6 AuthorsJack C. Pashin17
Estimated H-index: 17
(OSU: Oklahoma State University–Stillwater)
The global dispersal of forests and soils has been proposed as a cause for the Late Devonian mass extinctions of marine organisms, but detailed spatiotemporal records of forests and soils at that time remain lacking. We present data from microscopic and geochemical analyses of the Upper Devonian Chattanooga Shale (Famennian Stage). Plant residues (microfossils, vitrinite and inertinite) and biomarkers derived from terrestrial plants and wildfire occur throughout the stratigraphic section, sugges...
Published on Jul 1, 2019in Global and Planetary Change4.10
Sarah K. Carmichael7
Estimated H-index: 7
(ASU: Appalachian State University),
Johnny A. Waters14
Estimated H-index: 14
(ASU: Appalachian State University)
+ 2 AuthorsErika Kido6
Estimated H-index: 6
(University of Graz)
Abstract The Late Devonian (383-359 Ma) was a time of prolonged climate instability with catastrophic perturbation of global marine ecosystems at the Frasnian-Famennian (F-F) and the Devonian-Carboniferous (D-C) boundaries. The causes and mechanisms of anoxia and extinction at the F-F interval are not clearly delineated, and alternative explanations for virtually every aspect of this interval are still intensely debated. In many (but not all) locations, the F-F interval is characterized by two d...
Published on Jun 1, 2019in Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology2.62
L.M.E. Percival (UNIL: University of Lausanne), David Selby33
Estimated H-index: 33
(China University of Geosciences)
+ 6 AuthorsKarl B. Föllmi32
Estimated H-index: 32
(UNIL: University of Lausanne)
Anomalously high rates of continental weathering have frequently been proposed as a key stimulus for the development of widespread marine anoxia during a number of Late Devonian environmental and biospheric crises, which included a major mass extinction during the Frasnian–Famennian transition (marked by the Upper and Lower Kellwasser horizons). Here, this model is investigated by presenting the first stratigraphic record of osmium-isotope trends (187Os/188Os) in upper Devonian strata from the K...
Published on Apr 1, 2019in Global and Planetary Change4.10
Olivia C. Paschall1
Estimated H-index: 1
(ASU: Appalachian State University),
Sarah K. Carmichael7
Estimated H-index: 7
(ASU: Appalachian State University)
+ 4 AuthorsAllison Dombrowski (ASU: Appalachian State University)
Abstract The Devonian-Carboniferous transition (359 Ma) was a time of extreme climate and faunal change and is associated with the end-Devonian biodiversity crisis. The transition is characterized by transgressive/regressive cycles, which culminated in the onset of widespread ocean anoxia (the Hangenberg Black Shale event) and a remarkable sea-level fall close to the Devonian-Carboniferous boundary (the Hangenberg Sandstone event); together these are known as the Hangenberg Crisis. The Hangenber...
Published on Jan 1, 2019in Science China-earth Sciences2.26
Wenkun Qie6
Estimated H-index: 6
(CAS: Chinese Academy of Sciences),
Xueping Ma2
Estimated H-index: 2
(PKU: Peking University)
+ 6 AuthorsJian-Feng Lu2
Estimated H-index: 2
(CAS: Chinese Academy of Sciences)
The Global Boundary Stratotype Sections and Points (GSSPs) for the bases of all seven international Devonian stages have been formally defined and ratified by IUGS till 1996, and nowadays, the main tasks for Devonian stratigraphers include further subdivision of these standard stages, strictly constrained absolute ages for the boundaries, and precise neritic-pelagic and marine-terrestrial correlations using multidisciplinary stratigraphy methods. Establishment of high-resolution Devonian integra...