A new extinction 233 million years ago

For many years, researchers from the most diverse geological disciplines have focused on climate change event occurred about 233 million years ago, called Carnian Pluvial Episode (CPE). The severity and extent of the paleobiological variation and the linked paleoenvironmental perturbation until now were difficult to assess. 

A review and synthesis of the CPE literature was recently published in Science Advances by a team of researchers led by Jacopo Dal Corso of the China University of Geosciences Wuhan. 

This profound revision allowed to outline a more complete picture of the CPE defining, between 232 and 234 million years ago, a profound environmental change in the structure of these ancient ecosystems, both in the oceans and on land, with the extinction of many genera. 

The extinction event was followed by a great diversification phase in both marine and terrestrial environments, which marks an important transition in the history of the Earth towards more "modern" ecosystems. Therefore, the CPE can be compared to other great mass extinctions that during the history of life have episodically and profoundly transformed the ecosystems. 

The possible causes of this event are related to volcanic gasses emissions into the atmosphere, especially of CO2, linked to the Late Triassic eruption of the magmatic province of Wrangellia, which rocks today are found in the northwestern part of the American continent.

Reference: Dal Corso J., Bernardi M., Yadong Sun, Haijun Song, Seyfullah L.J., Preto N., Gianolla P., Ruffell A., Kustatscher E., Roghi G., Merico A. , Hohn S., Schmidt A.R., Marzoli A., Newton R.J., Wignall P.B. e Benton M.J. (2020). Extinction and dawn of the modern world in the Carnian (Late Triassic). Sci Adv 6 (38), DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aba0099.

Paper is available here: https://advances.sciencemag.org/content/6/38/eaba0099/tab-pdf.   

For further information, please contact: Guido Roghi, CNR-IGG (guido.roghi(at)igg.cnr.it).