Catastrophe at the Permian-Triassic Boundary (251 ± 3,5 million years ago) - Earth before the Flood: Disappeared Continents and Civilizations

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Catastrophe at the Permian-Triassic Boundary (251 ± 3,5 million years ago)

Great catastrophes

Geological evidences of the catastrophe

In the "Catastrophe at the Permian-Triassic boundary (251 ± 3,5 million years ago)" by A. Koltypin are considered geological evidences and benchmarks of the catastrophe:
- Volcanism outburst (volcanic eruptions),
- Accumulation of boundary clay,
- Iridium anomaly,
- Change of a regime of sedimentation,
- Climatic alterations,
- Oxygen content reduction,
- Fauna and flora extinction,
- Other events

Outburst of volcmanism
At the Permian-Triassic boundary is found one of the largest deposits ever formed (an area of about 1.5 illion km2). The Tunguska trap formation in the Siberian platform consists of thick masses of stratified intrusions, lava sheets and tuffs of basaltic composition (up to 2-3 km and a volume of about 2,5 million km3), which were confined to the rift zone of meridional faults.
The main part of the trap was formed on the border of the Permian and Triassic (the so-called Putoransky horizon, some researchers attribute it to the very tops of the Jurassic, while others - the most lowermost Triassic). According to I. Campbell (Campbell et al., 1992), P. Keneghema (Canagham et al., 1994) and other researchers, the outpouring of Siberian traps coincided with the refined dating of the boundary of the Permian and Triassic (251,2 ± 3,4 million years).

The Accumulation of Boundary Clays
One of the main arguments in favor of global catastrophe is the presence of a thin boundary layer of clay - the so-called "iridium anomaly" first found by American geologist Walter Alvarez in 1977 in the Cretaceous-Paleogene boundary clays near the town of Gubbio, 150 km from Rome . Most researchers attributed it to the cosmic background, assuming that the fall of large celestial bodies are the main source of iridium (Ir content in meteorites ranges from 500 to 5000 ng / g while in the crust it is only about 0.03 ng / g).

The iridium anomaly is the most well developed in Cretaceous-Paleogene boundary deposits. At the turn of the Permian and Triassic, it has a more local distribution (best studied in southern China and in Texas) and is not so predominant. Nevertheless, there is a similarity in the iridium layer in both cases, no doubt.
Near the Permian-Triassic boundary layers are characteristically borderline clays with micro spherical nodules enriched in siderophile (Fe, Ni, Co, Au), chalkophile (Cu, Zn, S), deep-lithophile (Ti, Cr, V, Sc) elements and PGM in the first place, iridium. According to Yang and other Chinese geologists (Yang et al., 1995), in China, this layer is a bentonite - hydrolyzed tuffite. He traced this layer over a large area within several Chinese provinces. His current stratigraphic analogues are found in the reference sections of Alborz, Caucasus, the Canadian Arctic Archipelago, and elsewhere.

Changing Depositional Environment

The border of marine Permian and Triassic sediments indicates a sharp decline in values of d13S (degree of enrichment of heavy isotope of carbon) which according to JD Zakharova, NG Boriskin and AM Popov (2001) is associated with reduced accumulation of organic carbon (mainly phytoplankton). At the same time, high values in the Permian d13S organogenic carbonates indicate that there was an abundance of organic carbon in the ocean during the accumulation of the underlying strata.

It is established that maximum carbon-isotope anomalies occur at times of maximum solar activity and photosynthesis and conversely the minimum and the negative values of these anomalies are associated with minimum solar activity (or lack thereof) and a sharp slowdown (or termination) of photosynthesis.

At the boundary of the Permian and Triassic, almost everywhere globally, coal accumulation that was customary for the Permian ceases abruptly. Above the same boundary, clay occurrences are widespread in the Lower Jurassic black shale sequence, formed in conditions of oxygen deficiency, and Krasnotsvetov.

Climate Change
Conducted palynological (the study of pollen and spores of plants) research in the Asian region have shown that during the Permian and Triassic (boundary - A.K.) there was a significant cooling and increasingly arid climate. Border floras are typical monotonous, with depleted species composition and reduction of forms of ferns. According to VA Krasilova (2001) and Li (Li, 1997), kataziatskaya (Sino-Indo-Chinese) flora is preserved only in southern China. However, even in Olenek century Early Triassic (about 245 million years ago) there was a significant warming and the alignment of climatic conditions.

Reducing the Oxygen Content in the Atmosphere
The existence of anoxic conditions on the boundary of the Permian and Triassic, according to several Russian and foreign researchers is evidenced by the existence of a negative anomaly of cerium, the presence of PGE, syngenetic (formed simultaneously with precipitation) pyrite, the lack of reef formations, the almost complete cessation of carbonate and silica depositian. According to JD Zakharov (2001) and others, lack of oxygen could be due to the global reduction (or cessation) of photosynthesis as a result of a sharp decrease in productivity of photosynthetic organisms. The oceanic recorded negative value d13S coincided, obviously, with the reduction of photosynthesis on land because of the newly arid climate (desertification).

Extinction of Flora and Fauna 

Organic debris in the border clays is extremely rare and represented by, according to VA Krasilova (2001), conodonts (microscopic, 0,1 - 1 mm, the remnants of the jaw apparatus of an extinct group of marine planktonic animals) of Permian appearance. Above the boundary, clays usually occur as a black shale sequence. Complex invertebrates are mixed from the Permian and Triassic components, although the situation of the Permian and Triassic boundary within the interval with a mixed fauna is still debatable.
The dominant forms of Permian plants disappear from the geological record below the Permian and Triassic. In the marine sections of the Permian mass extinction of invertebrates are observed several meters below the boundary clay, in which there are only Permian conodonts (VA Krasilov, 2001). At the same time forms of relict Permian fauna and flora are still found at the base of the Triassic.
Several different sets of data led American and Chinese researchers, led by S. Bowring of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (USA), to explore the "classic" border of the Permian and Triassic deposits in southern China and in Texas (Bowring SA, et al., 1998). In their view, the episode of extinction of life continued in the range of 251,4 ± 0,3 Ma to 252,3 ± 0,3 million years which is no more than 1 million years. At that, modern methods of absolute age dating give no opportunity to obtain more accurate age for the rocks 251 million years. That is, the duration of environmental catastrophe could be much smaller and, by some estimates ranged from 10 to 150 thousand years.

One of the unexplained events that took place in the Permian and Triassic, was a massive spread and outbreak of formation of saprophytic fungi (the so-called "mushroom episode, on Vishera (Vischer et al., 1996)
(note of the translater: the outbreak of fungi - decomposers - had to have been due to the extreme amount of rapidly buried dead organic material that provided so much food for them)

Other Events
Other important events that have occurred in the Permian and Triassic include a massive release of volcanic ash and aerosols, acid rain (which, in particular, shows an increased content of sulfur in the boundary of the Permo-Triassic in South China), significant breaks in sedimentation (some researchers attribute this to retreat of the sea, while others - to raising of the continents) and this is marked in different parts of the world as a rise in sea level.

In 2001 a group of American researchers led by LE Becker, who studied the boundary of the Permo-Triassic sediments of South China and Japan, have identified molecules of inert gases that are present in the sediments of complex hydrocarbon polymers called fulleronov. According to LE Becker, they may be remnants of a comet.

The section "Great catastrophes"

© A. Koltypin, 2009
©  Laura Fitzpatrick, 2011 (translation)

We, A. Koltypin the authors of this work, and L.Fitzpatrick the translator of this work, give permission to use this for any purpose except prohibited by applicable law, on condition that our authorship and hyperlink to the site is given.

my works "Catastrophe at the Cretaceous-Palaeogene boundary (66-65 million years ago)", "Catastrophe at the Eocene-Oligocene boundary (34 million years ago)", "Catastrophe at the Miocene-Pliocene boundary (5,3 million years ago)", "The most important catastrophe in the history of Earth during which mankind appeared. When it happened?", "Catastrophes and alteration of climate in the Miocene", "Glaciations of the Quaternary"
Read also my works "Great catastrophe on Mars" and "Catastrophes on Earth and Mars - united links of space catastrophes"

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