Persistent global marine euxinia in the early Silurian



Stockey RG, Cole DB, Planavsky NJ, Loydell DK, Frýda J, Sperling EA.


Nat Commun. 2020 Apr 14;11(1):1804. doi: 10.1038/s41467-020-15400-y.


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 δ(238)U 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, δ(98)Mo and δ(238)U measurements of Rhuddanian black shales from the Murzuq Basin, Libya. We evaluate these data (and published carbonate δ(238)U 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.

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Link/DOI: 10.1038/s41467-020-15400-y