Persistent global marine euxinia in the early Silurian

Richard G. Stockey, Devon B. Cole, Noah J. Planavsky, David K. Loydell, Jiří Frýda, Erik A. Sperling

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The second pulse of the Late Ordovician mass extinction occurred around the Hirnantian-Rhuddanian boundary (~444 Ma) and has been correlated with expanded marine anoxia lasting into the earliest Silurian. Characterization of the Hirnantian ocean anoxic event has focused on the onset of anoxia, with global reconstructions based on carbonate δ238U modeling. However, there have been limited attempts to quantify uncertainty in metal isotope mass balance approaches. Here, we probabilistically evaluate coupled metal isotopes and sedimentary archives to increase constraint. We present iron speciation, metal concentration, δ98Mo and δ238U measurements of Rhuddanian black shales from the Murzuq Basin, Libya. We evaluate these data (and published carbonate δ238U data) with a coupled stochastic mass balance model. Combined statistical analysis of metal isotopes and sedimentary sinks provides uncertainty-bounded constraints on the intensity of Hirnantian-Rhuddanian euxinia. This work extends the duration of anoxia to >3 Myrs – notably longer than well-studied Mesozoic ocean anoxic events.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1804
JournalNature Communications
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 14 Apr 2020


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