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Nat Commun. 2016 Jul 5;7:12079. doi: 10.1038/ncomms12079.

End-Cretaceous extinction in Antarctica linked to both Deccan volcanism and meteorite impact via climate change.

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1
Department of Earth &Environmental Sciences, University of Michigan, 2534 C.C. Little Building, 1100 North University Avenue, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109, USA.
2
Department of Geological Sciences, University of Florida, 241 Williamson Hall, PO Box 112120, Gainesville, Florida 32611, USA.

Abstract

The cause of the end-Cretaceous (KPg) mass extinction is still debated due to difficulty separating the influences of two closely timed potential causal events: eruption of the Deccan Traps volcanic province and impact of the Chicxulub meteorite. Here we combine published extinction patterns with a new clumped isotope temperature record from a hiatus-free, expanded KPg boundary section from Seymour Island, Antarctica. We document a 7.8±3.3 °C warming synchronous with the onset of Deccan Traps volcanism and a second, smaller warming at the time of meteorite impact. Local warming may have been amplified due to simultaneous disappearance of continental or sea ice. Intra-shell variability indicates a possible reduction in seasonality after Deccan eruptions began, continuing through the meteorite event. Species extinction at Seymour Island occurred in two pulses that coincide with the two observed warming events, directly linking the end-Cretaceous extinction at this site to both volcanic and meteorite events via climate change.

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