Synchrony between the Central Atlantic magmatic province and the Triassic-Jurassic mass-extinction event?

Whiteside, Jessica H.; Olsen, Paul E.; Kent, Dennis V.; Fowell, Sarah J.; Et-Touhami, Mohammed

We present new data and a synthesis of cyclostratigraphic, lithostratigraphic, biostratigraphic, and published magnetostratigraphic and basalt geochemical data from eastern North America and Morocco in an attempt to clarify the temporal relationship between the Triassic–Jurassic mass extinction (∼ 202 Ma) and Earth's largest sequence of continental flood basalts, the Central Atlantic magmatic province (CAMP). Newly discovered zones of reverse polarity within CAMP flow sequences of Morocco have been hypothesized by Marzoli et al. [Marzoli, A., Bertrand, H., Knight, K.B., Cirilli, S., Buratti, N., Vérati, C., Nomade, S., Renne, P.R., Youbi, N., Martini, R., Allenbach, K., Neuwerth, R., Rapaille, C., Zaninetti, L., Bellieni, G., 2004. Synchrony of the Central Atlantic magmatic province and the Triassic–Jurassic boundary climatic and biotic crisis. Geology 32, 973–976.] and Knight et al. [Knight, K.B., Nomade, S., Renne, P.R., Marzoli, A., Betrand, H., Youbi, N., 2004. The Central Atlantic Magmatic Province at the Triassic–Jurassic boundary: paleomagnetic and 40Ar/30Ar evidence from Morocco for brief, episodic volcanism. Earth and Planetary Science Letters 228, 143–160.] as correlates of a very short, uppermost Triassic age reverse chron in the Newark basin, thus suggesting that much of the Moroccan CAMP was synchronous with or predates the Triassic–Jurassic boundary. Here, however, we explain these apparent reverse polarity zones as possible correlatives of poorly sampled lower Jurassic basalt flow sequences and overlying strata in eastern North America and lower Jurassic reverse polarity sequences recognized by others in the Paris basin. A revised Milankovitch cyclostratigraphy based on new core and field data constrains the duration of eastern North America basaltic flows to ∼ 610 ky after the Triassic–Jurassic palynological turnover event. Palynological data indicates correlation of the initial carbon isotopic excursion of Hesselbo et al. [Hesselbo, S.P., Robinson, S.A., Surlyk, F., Piasecki, S., 2002. Terrestrial and marine extinction at the Triassic–Jurassic boundary synchronized with major carbon-cycle perturbation: a link to initiation of massive volcanism. Geology 30, 251–254.] at St. Audrie's Bay to the palynological turnover event and vertebrate extinction level in eastern North America, suggesting a revised magnetostratigraphic correlation and robust carbon isotopic tests of the Marzoli–Knight hypothesis. We conclude that as yet there are no compelling data showing that any of the CAMP predated or was synchronous with the Triassic–Jurassic extinction event.

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Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology

More About This Work

Academic Units
Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory
Biology and Paleo Environment
Published Here
January 17, 2012