, Volume 52, Issue 2, pp 238–248 | Cite as

Mass extinction of ocean organisms at the Paleozoic-Mesozoic boundary: Effects and causes

  • M. S. BarashEmail author
Marine Geology


At the end of the Permian, at the boundary between the Paleozoic and Mesozoic (251.0 ± 0.4 Ma), the largest mass extinction of organisms on the Earth occurred. Up to 96% of the species of marine invertebrates and ∼70% of the terrestrial vertebrates died off. A lot of factors were suggested and substantiated to explain this mass mortality, such as the disappearance of environmental niches in the course of the amalgamation of the continental plates into Pangea, sea level fluctuations, anoxia, an elevated CO2 content, H2S intoxication, volcanism, methane discharge from gas-hydrates, climate changes, impact events (collisions with large asteroids), or combinations of many of these reasons. Some of these factors are in subordination to others, while others are independent. Almost all of these factors developed relatively slowly and could not cause the sudden mass mortality of organisms globally. It could have happened when large asteroids, whose craters have been discovered lately, fell to the Earth. It is suggested that the impact events “finished off” the already suppressed biota. A simultaneous change in many of the factors responsible for the biodiversity, including those not connected in a cause-and-effect relationship, proves the existence of a common extrater-restrial cause that affected both the changes in the internal and external geospheres and the activation of asteroid attacks (the Sun’s transit of spiral arms of our galaxy, the Sun’s oscillations perpendicularly to the galactic plane, etc).


Mass Extinction Impact Event Pangea Rock Sequence Permian Triassic Boundary 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Pleiades Publishing, Ltd. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Shirshov Institute of OceanologyRussian Academy of SciencesMoscowRussia

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