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

Published on Dec 1, 2018in Scientific Reports4.011
· DOI :10.1038/s41598-018-27847-7
L. M. E. Percival1
Estimated H-index: 1
(UNIL: University of Lausanne),
Joshua H.F.L. Davies10
Estimated H-index: 10
(University of Geneva)
+ 3 AuthorsKarl B. Föllmi34
Estimated H-index: 34
(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 (75)
  • Citations (5)
📖 Papers frequently viewed together
2 Authors (M Dastanpour, A Aftabi)
5 Citations
12 Citations
78% of Scinapse members use related papers. After signing in, all features are FREE.
#1Grzegorz Racki (University of Silesia in Katowice)H-Index: 27
#2Michał Rakociński (University of Silesia in Katowice)H-Index: 11
Last. Paul B. Wignall (University of Leeds)H-Index: 58
view all 4 authors...
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 ...
21 CitationsSource
#1Damien Pas (University of Liège)H-Index: 7
#2Linda A. Hinnov (GMU: George Mason University)H-Index: 35
Last. Wei Liu (China University of Geosciences)H-Index: 1
view all 6 authors...
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...
8 CitationsSource
#1David De Vleeschouwer (Vrije Universiteit Brussel)H-Index: 14
#2Anne-Christine Da Silva (UU: Utrecht University)H-Index: 13
Last. Philippe Claeys (Vrije Universiteit Brussel)H-Index: 31
view all 8 authors...
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...
10 CitationsSource
#1Huyue Song (China University of Geosciences)H-Index: 14
#2Haijun Song (China University of Geosciences)H-Index: 20
Last. Ariel D. Anbar (ASU: Arizona State University)H-Index: 57
view all 9 authors...
16 CitationsSource
#1Michael T. WhalenH-Index: 14
Last. P. ClaeysH-Index: 5
view all 6 authors...
6 CitationsSource
#1Seth D. Burgess (USGS: United States Geological Survey)H-Index: 8
#2James D. Muirhead (SU: Syracuse University)H-Index: 13
Last. Samuel A. Bowring (MIT: Massachusetts Institute of Technology)H-Index: 71
view all 3 authors...
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...
52 CitationsSource
#1Lawrence M.E. Percival (University of Oxford)H-Index: 7
#2Micha Ruhl (University of Oxford)H-Index: 18
Last. Jessica H. Whiteside (NOCS: National Oceanography Centre, Southampton)H-Index: 15
view all 6 authors...
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. ...
41 CitationsSource
#1David P.G. Bond (University of Hull)H-Index: 28
#2Stephen E. Grasby (U of C: University of Calgary)H-Index: 32
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 intra-Silur...
72 CitationsSource
#1O. P. Polyansky (RAS: Russian Academy of Sciences)H-Index: 7
#2Andrei V. Prokopiev (RAS: Russian Academy of Sciences)H-Index: 13
Last. Dmitry A. Vasiliev (RAS: Russian Academy of Sciences)H-Index: 2
view all 8 authors...
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...
7 CitationsSource
#1Joshua H.F.L. Davies (University of Geneva)H-Index: 10
#2Andrea Marzoli (UNIPD: University of Padua)H-Index: 23
Last. Urs Schaltegger (University of Geneva)H-Index: 51
view all 6 authors...
The end-Triassic extinction is one of the Phanerozoic’s largest mass extinctions. This extinction is typically attributed to climate change associated with degassing of basalt flows from the central Atlantic magmatic province (CAMP). However, recent work suggests that the earliest known CAMP basalts occur above the extinction horizon and that climatic and biotic changes began before the earliest known CAMP eruptions. Here we present new high-precision U-Pb ages from CAMP mafic intrusive units, s...
40 CitationsSource
Cited By5
Abstract Although the prime causation of the Late Devonian Frasnian–Famennian (F–F) mass extinction remains conjectural, such destructive factors as the spread of anoxia and rapid upheavals in the runaway greenhouse climate are generally accepted in the Earth-bound multicausal scenario. In terms of prime triggers of these global changes, volcanism paroxysm coupled with the Eovariscan tectonism has been suspected for many years. However, the recent discovery of multiple anomalous mercury enrichme...
2 CitationsSource
#1L.M.E. Percival (UNIL: University of Lausanne)H-Index: 1
#2David P.G. Bond (University of Hull)H-Index: 28
Last. Karl B. Föllmi (UNIL: University of Lausanne)H-Index: 34
view all 8 authors...
Abstract The Late Devonian was marked by repeated faunal crises and episodes of geographically widespread marine anoxia, and featured one of the ‘Big Five’ mass extinctions of the Phanerozoic Aeon during the Frasnian–Famennian transition. However, the processes responsible for causing the numerous anoxic events remain unclear. This study highlights the occurrence of disturbances to the phosphorus cycle during several Late Devonian crises by investigating sedimentary concentrations of the element...
2 CitationsSource
#1Richard E. Ernst (Carleton University)H-Index: 44
#2Sergei A. Rodygin (Tomsk State University)H-Index: 1
Last. Oleg M. Grinev (Tomsk State University)H-Index: 1
view all 3 authors...
Abstract Large Igneous Provinces (LIPs) are emerging as a significant driver of short duration climatic change including mass extinctions. Here we compare the record of LIPs against the timing of Devonian biotic crises that are well recorded in the numerous anoxia events throughout this period. The largest LIPs are two-pulse events at ca. 370 and ca. 360 Ma that are present in both Siberia (Yakutsk-Vilyui LIP) and Baltica (Kola-Dnieper LIP) and correlate with the Kellwasser anoxia events (end Fr...
6 CitationsSource
#1Zhen Shen (Lille University of Science and Technology)H-Index: 1
#2Claude Monnet (Lille University of Science and Technology)H-Index: 15
Last. Thomas Servais (Lille University of Science and Technology)H-Index: 22
view all 7 authors...
Abstract The microfossil-based pattern of the Devonian land plants of China is revised and discussed based on a new, comprehensive dataset. This dataset compiles the chronostratigraphical distribution of 1677 species belonging to 190 genera of spores and pollen from the primary literature, which covers the history of fossil Chinese terrestrial palynofloras. From this, we describe the patterns and biodiversity dynamics using both range-based and sample-based data to illustrate the main fluctuatio...
#1Liyu Zhang (CAS: Chinese Academy of Sciences)H-Index: 1
#2Daizhao Chen (CAS: Chinese Academy of Sciences)H-Index: 21
Last. Jianguo WangH-Index: 1
view all 6 authors...
2 CitationsSource
#1Sarah K. Carmichael (ASU: Appalachian State University)H-Index: 7
#2Johnny A. Waters (ASU: Appalachian State University)H-Index: 14
Last. Erika Kido (University of Graz)H-Index: 6
view all 5 authors...
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...
1 CitationsSource
#1L.M.E. Percival (UNIL: University of Lausanne)H-Index: 1
#2David Selby (China University of Geosciences)H-Index: 36
Last. Karl B. Föllmi (UNIL: University of Lausanne)H-Index: 34
view all 9 authors...
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...
3 CitationsSource
#1Man Lu (UA: University of Alabama)
#2YueHan Lu (UA: University of Alabama)H-Index: 12
Last. Jack C. Pashin (OSU: Oklahoma State University–Stillwater)H-Index: 17
view all 9 authors...
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...
#1Olivia C. Paschall (ASU: Appalachian State University)H-Index: 1
#2Sarah K. Carmichael (ASU: Appalachian State University)H-Index: 7
Last. Allison Dombrowski (ASU: Appalachian State University)H-Index: 1
view all 7 authors...
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...
5 CitationsSource
#1Wenkun Qie (CAS: Chinese Academy of Sciences)H-Index: 7
#2Xueping Ma (PKU: Peking University)H-Index: 1
Last. Jianfeng Lu (CAS: Chinese Academy of Sciences)H-Index: 2
view all 9 authors...
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...
4 CitationsSource