Oceanic euxinia in Earth history: Causes and consequences

Katja M. Meyer, Lee R. Kump

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

267 Scopus citations

Abstract

Euxinic ocean conditions accompanied significant events in Earth history, including several Phanerozoic biotic crises. By critically examining modern and ancient euxinic environments and the range of hypotheses for these sulfidic episodes, we elucidate the primary factors that influenced the generation of euxinia. We conclude that periods of global warmth promoted anoxia because of reduced solubility of oxygen, not because of ocean stagnation. Anoxia led to phosphate release from sediments, and continental configurations with expansive nutrient-trapping regions focused nutrient recycling and increased regional nutrient buildup. This great nutrient supply would have fueled high biological productivity and oxygen demand, enhancing oxygen depletion and sulfide buildup via sulfate reduction. As long as warm conditions prevailed, these positive feedbacks sustained euxinic conditions. In rare, extreme cases, euxinia led to biotic crises, a hypothesis best supported by evidence from the end-Permian mass extinction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationAnnual Review of Earth and Planetary Sciences
EditorsRaymond Jeanloz, Arden Albee, Kevin Burke, Katherine Freeman
Pages251-288
Number of pages38
DOIs
StatePublished - 2008

Publication series

NameAnnual Review of Earth and Planetary Sciences
Volume36
ISSN (Print)0084-6597

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science

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