Paleogeography And Paleoenvironments Of The Late Devonian Kellwasser Event: A Review Of Its Sedimentological And Geochemical Expression

ASU Author/Contributor (non-ASU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Sarah K. Carmichael Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Geology (Creator)
Appalachian State University (ASU )
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Abstract: The Late Devonian (383-359 Ma) was a time of prolonged climate instability with catastrophic perturbation of global marine ecosystems at the Frasnian-Famennian (F-F) and the Devonian-Carboniferous (D-C) boundaries. The causes and mechanisms of anoxia and extinction at the F-F interval are not clearly delineated, and alternative explanations for virtually every aspect of this interval are still intensely debated. In many (but not all) locations, the F-F interval is characterized by two dark, organic-rich lithologies: the Lower and Upper Kellwasser beds (as originally described in Germany) that represent a stepwise ocean anoxia and extinction sequence. The Upper and Lower Kellwasser anoxia event beds are often collectively termed the Kellwasser Event, and the termination of this sequence is within the Upper Kellwasser Event at the F-F boundary. Current knowledge is limited by significant sampling bias, as most previous studies sampled epicontinental seaways or passive continental shelves, primarily from localities across Europe and North America. Together these formed a single equatorial continent with a rising mountain chain during the Late Devonian. Our understanding of the Kellwasser Event is thus based on data and observations from a restricted set of paleoenvironments that may not represent the complete range of Late Devonian environments and oceanic conditions. In the last decade, new methodologies and research in additional paleoenvironments around the world confirm that the Kellwasser Event was global in scope, but also that its expression varies with both paleoenvironment and paleogeography. Studying the many differing geochemical and lithological expressions of the Kellwasser Event using a) a wide variety of paleoenvironments, b) a multiproxy approach, and c) placement of results into the broader context of Late Devonian marine biodiversity patterns is vital for understanding the true scope of ocean anoxia, and determining the causes of the marine biodiversity crisis at the F-F boundary.

Additional Information

Carmichael, Sarah K., Waters, Johnny. A., Königshof, Peter, Suttner, Thomas S., and Kido, Erika (2019). Paleogeography and paleoenvironments of the Late Devonian Kellwasser Event: a review of its sedimentological and geochemical expression, Global and Planetary Change (Special issue on Devonian global changes - recent advances and challenges in different domains, eds. G.Racki and P. Wignall), Publisher version of record available at:
Language: English
Date: 2019
Frasnian-Famennian, Kellwasser Event, Late Devonian, mass extinction, ocean anoxia

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