Pattern of δ13Ccarb and implications for geological events during the Permian-Triassic transition in South China

C. Q. Cao, Y. C. Yang, S. Z. Shen, W. Wang, Q. F. Zheng, R. E. Summons

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    32 Citations (Scopus)


    Data from five marine sections across the Permian-Triassic boundary in southern China reveal a pattern of 13C-depleted carbonate (δ13Ccarb) in different facies spanning carbonate platform to lower slope. A gradual decrease of δ13Ccarb is evident in all sections and matched by an opposing change in 87Sr/8 Sr from the Late Permian to the Induan (Early Triassic). These complementary trends in strontium and carbon isotope data imply an extended period of enhanced continental uplift and weathering of silicates and organic matter across the Permian-Triassic event boundary (PTEB). A pronounced sharp drop of δ13Ccarb at the PTEB is most recognizable in the upper ramp environment of Meishan, occurs weakly in shallow water environments and cannot be discerned in the deepest water setting. We propose that this pattern reflects an enhancement of stratified-ocean conditions in the immediate aftermath of the latest Permian transgression. The sharp drop in δ13Ccarb at the PTEB in the platform ramp environments likely resulted from the depth-selective calcification of 13C-depleted dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) formed by respiration of organic matter including, perhaps, methane. Indeed, massive volcanism at the PTEB would have enhanced eutrophication and stratification thereby slowing the mixing of 13C-depleted DIC into deeper-water environments.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)186-194
    Number of pages9
    JournalGeological Journal
    Issue number2-3
    Publication statusPublished - 2010


    • Carbonate carbon isotopes
    • Permian-triassic transition
    • South china
    • Stratified ocean


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