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Volcanically-Induced Environmental and Floral Changes Across the Triassic-Jurassic (T-J) Transition

Zhang, Peixin; Lu, Jing; Yang, Minfang; Bond, David P.G.; Greene, Sarah E.; Liu, Le; Zhang, Yuanfu; Wang, Ye; Wang, Ziwei; Li, Shan; Shao, Longyi; Hilton, Jason


Peixin Zhang

Jing Lu

Minfang Yang

Sarah E. Greene

Le Liu

Yuanfu Zhang

Ye Wang

Ziwei Wang

Shan Li

Longyi Shao

Jason Hilton


The End-Triassic Mass Extinction (ETME) saw the catastrophic loss of ca. 50% of marine genera temporally associated with emplacement of the Central Atlantic Magmatic Province (CAMP). However, the effects of the ETME on land is a controversial topic. Evaluation of the disparate cause(s) and effects of the extinction requires additional, detailed terrestrial records of these events. Here, we present a multidisciplinary record of volcanism and environmental change from an expanded Triassic-Jurassic (T-J) transition preserved in lacustrine sediments from the Jiyuan Basin, North China. High-resolution chemostratigraphy, palynological, kerogen, and sedimentological data reveal that terrestrial conditions responded to and were defined by large-scale volcanism. The record of sedimentary mercury reveals two discrete CAMP eruptive phases during the T-J transition. Each of these can be correlated with large, negative C isotope excursions (CIE-I of −4.7‰; CIE-II of −2.9‰), significantly reduced plant diversity (with ca. 45 and 44% generic losses, respectively), enhanced wildfire (marked by increased fusinite or charcoal content), and major climatic shifts toward drier and hotter conditions (indicated by the occurrence of calcareous nodules, increased Classopollis pollen content, and PCA analysis). Our results show that CAMP eruptions may have followed a bimodal eruptive model and demonstrate the powerful ability of large-scale volcanism to alter the global C cycle and profoundly affect the climate, in turn leading to enhanced wildfires and a collapse in land plant diversity during the T-J transition.


Zhang, P., Lu, J., Yang, M., Bond, D. P., Greene, S. E., Liu, L., …Hilton, J. (2022). Volcanically-Induced Environmental and Floral Changes Across the Triassic-Jurassic (T-J) Transition. Frontiers in ecology and evolution, 10, Article 853404.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Feb 24, 2022
Online Publication Date Mar 28, 2022
Publication Date Mar 28, 2022
Deposit Date Feb 24, 2022
Publicly Available Date Oct 27, 2022
Journal Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution
Electronic ISSN 2296-701X
Publisher Frontiers Media
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 10
Article Number 853404
Keywords End-Triassic mass extinction; Palynology; Volcanism; Paleoenvironment; Paleoclimate; Carbon cycle; North China
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Copyright Statement
Copyright © 2022 Zhang, Lu, Yang, Bond, Greene, Liu, Zhang, Wang, Wang, Li, Shao and Hilton. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

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