A microbial carbonate response in synchrony with the end-Triassic mass extinction across the SW UK

Yadira Ibarra, Frank Corsetti, Sarah Greene, David Bottjer

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12 Citations (Scopus)


The eruption of the Central Atlantic Magmatic Province (CAMP)—the largest igneous province known—has been linked to the end-Triassic mass extinction event, however reconciling the response of the biosphere (at local and nonlocal scales) to potential CAMP-induced geochemical excursions has remained challenging. Here we present a combined sedimentary and biological response to an ecosystem collapse in Triassic-Jurassic strata of the southwest United Kingdom (SW UK) expressed as widely distributed carbonate microbialites and associated biogeochemical facies. The microbialites (1) occur at the same stratigraphic level as the mass extinction extinction, (2) host a negative isotope excursion in δ13Corg found in other successions around the world, and (3) co-occur with an acme of prasinophyte algae ‘disaster taxa’ also dominant in Triassic-Jurassic boundary strata of other European sections. Although the duration of microbialite deposition is uncertain, it is likely that they formed rapidly (perhaps fewer than ten thousand years), thus providing a high-resolution glimpse into the initial carbon isotopic perturbation coincident with the end-Triassic mass extinction. These findings indicate microbialites from the SW UK capture a nonlocal biosedimentary response to the cascading effects of massive volcanism and add to the current understanding of paleoecology in the aftermath of the end-Triassic extinction.
Original languageEnglish
Article number19808
JournalScientific Reports
Publication statusPublished - 27 Jan 2016


  • Palaeoecology
  • Palaeontology


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