Mass extinctions and the marine record

Jul 30, 2007

Mass extinctions have long captured the imagination of scientists and non-scientists alike. A new volume published by the Geological Society of America includes some of the best evidence of the relationship between major environmental changes and changes in life on the planet.

Large Ecosystem Perturbations: Causes and Consequences focuses on evidence from ancient seas across different geological time intervals. Papers contain case studies on a large spectrum of ecosystem changes with varying causes and consequences.

"The interplay between major environmental perturbations and modifications in flora and fauna is best seen in the marine record, which provides very detailed, often complete, documentation of paleobiological changes," said Simonetta Monechi of the Università degli Studi di Firenze in Italy. Monechi is lead editor of the volume, with Rodolfo Coccioni, Università degli Studi di Urbino "Carlo Bo," and Michael R. Rampino, New York University, as co-editors.

Several papers focus on turnovers associated with the Paleocene-Eocene transition 55 million years ago when Earth experienced one of the most rapid and extreme global warming events recorded in geologic history. The small benthic extinction and the plankton turnover caused by the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM) led to major changes in mammalian life on land.

Other topics include the calcareous nannofossil change during the early Aptian Oceanic Anoxic Event, a severe Late Devonian mass extinction, and the aftermath of a minor extraterrestrial impact dated as Late Cretaceous in the U.S. Gulf Coastal Plain.

Source: Geological Society of America

Explore further: Travelling dunes encroach on infrastructure, and reveal geological pattern

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Five dead as magnitude-8.2 quake hits northern Chile

Apr 02, 2014

A powerful magnitude-8.2 earthquake struck off northern Chile on Tuesday night, setting off a small tsunami that forced evacuations along the country's entire Pacific coast. Five people were crushed to death ...

Recommended for you

Melting during cooling period

2 hours ago

(Phys.org) —A University of Maine research team says stratification of the North Atlantic Ocean contributed to summer warming and glacial melting in Scotland during the period recognized for abrupt cooling ...

Warm US West, cold East: A 4,000-year pattern

5 hours ago

Last winter's curvy jet stream pattern brought mild temperatures to western North America and harsh cold to the East. A University of Utah-led study shows that pattern became more pronounced 4,000 years ago, ...

New study outlines 'water world' theory of life's origins

7 hours ago

(Phys.org) —Life took root more than four billion years ago on our nascent Earth, a wetter and harsher place than now, bathed in sizzling ultraviolet rays. What started out as simple cells ultimately transformed ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

Warm US West, cold East: A 4,000-year pattern

Last winter's curvy jet stream pattern brought mild temperatures to western North America and harsh cold to the East. A University of Utah-led study shows that pattern became more pronounced 4,000 years ago, ...

Melting during cooling period

(Phys.org) —A University of Maine research team says stratification of the North Atlantic Ocean contributed to summer warming and glacial melting in Scotland during the period recognized for abrupt cooling ...

Breakthrough points to new drugs from nature

Researchers at Griffith University's Eskitis Institute have developed a new technique for discovering natural compounds which could form the basis of novel therapeutic drugs.