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Tellurium in Late Permian-Early Triassic Sediments as a Proxy for Siberian Flood Basalt Volcanism

Regelous, Marcel; Regelous, Anette; Grasby, Stephen E.; Bond, David P.G.; Haase, Karsten M.; Gleißner, Stefan; Wignall, Paul B.


Marcel Regelous

Anette Regelous

Stephen E. Grasby

Karsten M. Haase

Stefan Gleißner

Paul B. Wignall


We measured the concentrations of trace elements in Late Permian to Early Triassic sediments from Spitsbergen. High mercury concentrations in sediments from the level of the Permo-Triassic Mass Extinction (PTME) at this location were previously attributed to the emplacement of the Siberian Traps Large Igneous Province and used to link the timing of volcanism with the record of environmental change and extinction in these sediments. We investigated the use of the moderately to highly volatile, siderophile elements Ni, Zn, Cd, Sb, Te, Re, and Tl as proxies for the intensity of Siberian volcanism. These trace elements, like Hg, have high concentrations in volcanic gas compared to crustal rocks. Tellurium is highly enriched at the PTME, and Te/Th ratios increase by a factor of ∼20 across the PTME, similar to the variation in Hg/total organic carbon (TOC) in the same samples. Te/Th and Hg/TOC values imply that Siberian volcanism initiated at the onset of the PTME, coincident with the start of the δ13Corganic excursion and abrupt warming. Based on Te and Hg, most Siberian volcanism occurred between the two phases of the PTME boundary (a period of less than 100 ky), but also continued into the Early Triassic. The duration of Siberian volcanism inferred from Te/Th and Hg/TOC is shorter than that indicated by recent high-precision U-Pb ages of Siberian intrusive and extrusive rocks. Te concentrations and Te/Th ratios in sediments represent a useful new proxy for volcanism, which can be used to link the marine sedimentary record with large volcanic events on land.


Regelous, M., Regelous, A., Grasby, S. E., Bond, D. P., Haase, K. M., Gleißner, S., & Wignall, P. B. (2020). Tellurium in Late Permian-Early Triassic Sediments as a Proxy for Siberian Flood Basalt Volcanism. Geochemistry, geophysics, geosystems G³, 21(11), Article e2020GC009064.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Oct 21, 2020
Online Publication Date Oct 31, 2020
Publication Date Nov 1, 2020
Deposit Date Mar 24, 2022
Publicly Available Date Mar 28, 2022
Journal Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems
Electronic ISSN 1525-2027
Publisher American Geophysical Union
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 21
Issue 11
Article Number e2020GC009064
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Copyright Statement
© 2020. The Authors. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited and is not used for commercial purposes

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