Catastrophic ocean acidification at the Triassic-Jurassic boundary

Michael Hautmann*, Michael J. Benton, Adam Tomasovych

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

76 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Palaeobotanical and geochemical evidence indicate a sudden rise in atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) across the Triassic-Jurassic boundary, probably reflecting the combined effect of extensive volcanic degassing and thermal dissociation of marine gas hydrates. Using carbon isotopes as a geochemical marker, we found that the onset of the CO2 emissions coincided with an interruption of carbonate sedimentation in palaeogeographically distant regions, suggesting that hydrolysis of CO2 led to a short but substantial decrease of seawater pH that slowed down or inhibited precipitation of calcium carbonate minerals. The cessation of carbonate sedimentation correlates with a major marine extinction event, which especially affected organisms with aragonitic or high-Mg calcitic skeletons and little physiological control of biocalcification. These findings strengthen current concerns that ocean acidification from industrial CO2 release threatens biotopes that are dominated by such organisms, in particular tropical reef systems.

Translated title of the contributionCatastrophic ocean acidification at the Triassic-Jurassic boundary
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)119-127
Number of pages9
JournalNeues Jahrbuch für Geologie und Paläontologie - Abhandlungen
Volume249
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2008

Bibliographical note

Other: Featured Science 321, 893

Keywords

  • ocean acidification
  • biomineralization
  • skeletal mineralogy
  • mass extinction
  • Triassic
  • Jurassic
  • CARBON-ISOTOPE STRATIGRAPHY
  • NORTHERN CALCAREOUS ALPS
  • ANTHROPOGENIC CO2
  • MASS EXTINCTION
  • ATMOSPHERIC CO2
  • CALCIFICATION
  • BIVALVES
  • IMPACT
  • RECORD
  • ORGANISMS

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