Global oceanic anoxia linked with the Capitanian (Middle Permian) marine mass extinction

Huyue Song, Thomas J. Algeo, Haijun Song, Jinnan Tong, Paul B. Wignall, David P.G. Bond, Wang Zheng, Xinming Chen, Stephen J. Romaniello, Hengye Wei, Ariel D. Anbar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


The timing and causation of the Capitanian (late Middle Permian) biocrisis remain controversial. Here, a detailed uranium-isotopic (δ238U) profile was generated for the mid-Capitanian to lower Wuchiapingian of the Penglaitan section (the Guadalupian/Lopingian Permian global stratotype) in South China for the purpose of investigating relationships between the biocrisis and coeval oceanic anoxic events (OAEs). Negative δ238U excursions indicate two distinct OAEs, a mid-Capitanian (OAE-C1) and an end-Capitanian (OAE-C2) event. Mass balance modeling shows that the anoxic sink of uranium (Fanox; i.e., the fraction of the total U burial flux) and anoxic seafloor area (Farea; i.e., the fraction of total seafloor area) increased during each OAE. A dynamic mass balance model yields increases of Fanox from <30% to >60% and Farea from ∼1% to ∼4-7% during each OAE. These two OAEs coincided with two extinction episodes during the Capitanian biocrisis, supporting a causal relationship between oceanic anoxia and mass extinction during the Middle Permian. The most likely driver of middle to late Capitanian global warming and oceanic anoxia was episodic magmatism of the Emeishan Large Igneous Province.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number118128
JournalEarth and Planetary Science Letters
StatePublished - May 15 2023


  • Emeishan LIP
  • Guadalupian–Lopingian boundary
  • Penglaitan
  • biocrisis
  • global warming
  • uranium isotopes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science


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