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Methanogenic burst in the end-Permian carbon cycle
Daniel H. Rothman, Gregory P. Fournier, Katherine L. French, Eric J. Alm, Edward A. Boyle, Changqun Cao and Roger E. Summons
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Vol. 111, No. 15 (April 15, 2014), pp. 5462-5467
Published by: National Academy of Sciences
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/23771535
Page Count: 6
You can always find the topics here!Topics: Mass extinction events, Carbon cycle, Nickel, Methanosarcina, Acetates, Methane, Earth, Sediments, Methanogens, Geochemistry
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The end-Permian extinction is associated with a mysterious disruption to Earth's carbon cycle. Here we identify causal mechanisms via three observations. First, we show that geochemical signals indicate superexponential growth of the marine inorganic carbon reservoir, coincident with the extinction and consistent with the expansion of a new microbial metabolic pathway. Second, we show that the efficient acetoclastic pathway in Methanosarcina emerged at a time statistically indistinguishable from the extinction. Finally, we show that nickel concentrations in South China sediments increased sharply at the extinction, probably as a consequence of massive Siberian volcanism, enabling a methanogenic expansion by removal of nickel limitation. Collectively, these results are consistent with the instigation of Earth's greatest mass extinction by a specific microbial innovation.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America © 2014 National Academy of Sciences