A new model for the Kellwasser Anoxia Events (Late Devonian): Shallow water anoxia in an open oceanic setting in the Central Asian Orogenic Belt

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 )
Web Site: https://library.appstate.edu/

Abstract: The Frasnian–Famennian mass extinction event devastated tropical marine ecosystems and ranks in the top six in taxonomic and ecological severity. The close stratigraphic association between the extinction and the Kellwasser Anoxia Events support a link between oceanographic anoxia and extinction. The Upper and Lower Kellwasser horizons have been identified in epicontinental and basinal settings in Laurussia, Gondwana, Siberia, and South China. The Hongguleleng Formation (Late Devonian) in northwestern Xinjiang, China, contains both the Frasnian–Famennian boundary and the rebound from the Frasnian–Famennian extinction event in a highly fossiliferous shallow marine setting associated with a Devonian oceanic island arc complex (part of the Central Asian Orogenic Belt, or CAOB). Here we show that the Hongguleleng Formation also records the Upper Kellwasser Anoxia Event through analysis of multiple geochemical proxies. In contrast to previous studies asserting that the Kellwasser Events were restricted to epicontinental seaways and basins, our results indicate that it occurred not only along the shallow continental margins of the closing Rheic Ocean, but also in shallow water in the open oceanic part of Paleotethys. Previous explanations for the Kellwasser Events from epicontinental margins and basins call for the migration of deep anoxic bottom water into shallow water environments as a kill mechanism for shallow marine ecosystems or attribute it to sea level rise and subsequent stagnation. There is no evidence that the Devonian oceans completely overturned during the Kellwasser Events; similarly, many transgressive events in the Devonian are not associated with black shales. We therefore suggest an alternative mechanism for the Kellwasser Events based on new evidence from the CAOB, where anoxia is driven by episodic eutrophication of surface waters.

Additional Information

Carmichael, S.K., Waters, J.A. Suttner, T.J., Kido, E., and DeReuil, A.A. (2014) A new model for the Kellwasser Anoxia Events (Late Devonian): Shallow water anoxia in an open oceanic setting in the Central Asian Orogenic Belt. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 399: 394-403 (April 2014). Published by Elsevier (ISSN: 0031-0182). http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.palaeo.2014.02.016. The version of record is available from: www.elsevier.com
Language: English
Date: 2014

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