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Science. 2019 Feb 22;363(6429):862-866. doi: 10.1126/science.aau2422.

U-Pb constraints on pulsed eruption of the Deccan Traps across the end-Cretaceous mass extinction.

Author information

1
Department of Geosciences, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ, USA. bschoene@princeton.edu.
2
Department of Geosciences, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ, USA.
3
Nuclear and Chemical Sciences Division, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Livermore, CA, USA.
4
Berkeley Geochronology Center, Berkeley, CA, USA.
5
ISTE, Institut des Sciences de la Terre, Université de Lausanne, GEOPOLIS, Lausanne, Switzerland.
6
Department of Geology, Amravati University, Amravati, India.

Abstract

Temporal correlation between some continental flood basalt eruptions and mass extinctions has been proposed to indicate causality, with eruptive volatile release driving environmental degradation and extinction. We tested this model for the Deccan Traps flood basalt province, which, along with the Chicxulub bolide impact, is implicated in the Cretaceous-Paleogene (K-Pg) extinction approximately 66 million years ago. We estimated Deccan eruption rates with uranium-lead (U-Pb) zircon geochronology and resolved four high-volume eruptive periods. According to this model, maximum eruption rates occurred before and after the K-Pg extinction, with one such pulse initiating tens of thousands of years prior to both the bolide impact and extinction. These findings support extinction models that incorporate both catastrophic events as drivers of environmental deterioration associated with the K-Pg extinction and its aftermath.

PMID:
30792300
DOI:
10.1126/science.aau2422

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