Advertisement

The Sweet Aftermath: Environmental Changes and Biotic Restoration Following the Marine Mjølnir Impact (Volgian-Ryazanian Boundary, Barents Shelf)

  • Morten Smelror
  • Henning Dypvik
Part of the Impact Studies book series (IMPACTSTUD)

Abstract

During the Late Jurassic and earliest Cretaceous the Barents Shelf was dominated by fine-grained clay sedimentation, with mostly anoxic to hypoxic depositional conditions. The stratified water-masses contained typically relatively rich, but low diversity, nectonic faunas and marine microfloras above the pycnocline. In contrast the benthic faunas contained only a few bivalve species and low diversity communities of foraminifera. At the time of the Volgian-Ryazanian boundary (142.2±2.6 Ma) a 1.5–2 km-diameter bolide hit the paleo-Barents Sea and created the 40 km-diameter Mjølnir Crater. The central peak of the crater formed an island, and the high standing crater rims and annular ridges further led to significant changes in the sea-bed topography. The impact and crater formation led to significant disturbance and environmental changes, both at the crater site and over large distances of the paleo-Barents Shelf. Tsunamis were formed and travelled back and forth across the seas for a day or two after the impact. Continuing collapse of unstable, unconsolidated highs and rims formed avalanches, slumps and slides that developed into gravity flows in the crater surroundings. Computer simulations of ejecta formation and distribution indicate that major ejecta transportation occurred along the trajectory of the incoming bolide, i.e., toward the northeast. No evidence exists of any major biotic extinction or changes in diversity related to the impact event, but the overall compositions of the microfossil assemblages show a significant change within the impact-influenced strata. In the lowermost post-impact deposits in the Mjølnir Crater, and in association with the ejecta-bearing strata on the adjacent shelf, a conspicuous acme of the marine prasinophyte Leiosphaeridia combined with an influx of abundant juvenile freshwater algae of the genus Botryococcus occur. The prolific blooms of Leiosphaeridia suggest that these algae had a behavioral pattern typical for so-called disaster species. The recovery of the algal bloom in deposits off Troms, 500 km to the south of the Mjølnir Crater, and on Svalbard, 450 km to the north, suggest that a regional eutrophication event was induced in the impact-ocean. The duration of the environmental change and the biotic turnover is currently difficult to estimate, but was most likely relatively short. Depositional conditions comparable to those found on the shelf prior to the impact (i.e., stratified water-masses, with anoxic — hypoxic bottom conditions and low diversity marine benthic faunas) were restored during the earliest Ryazanian (i.e., prior to the time corresponding to the Heteroceras kochi ammonite zone).

Keywords

Algal Bloom Mass Extinction Benthic Foraminifera Planktonic Foraminifera Calcareous Nannofossil 
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.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Alvarez LW, Alvarez W, Asaro F, Michel HV (1980) Extraterrestrial cause for the Cretaceous-Tertiary extinction. Science 208: 1095–1108Google Scholar
  2. Anderson D (1997) Turning back the harmful red tide. Nature 388: 513–514CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Arenillas I, Arz JA, Molina E (2002) Quantifying the evolutionary turnover across the K-T boundary catastrophic planktic foraminiferal extinction event at El Kef, Tunisia. GFF 124: 121–126Google Scholar
  4. Birkelund T, Thusu B, Vigran J (1978) Jurassic-Cretaceous biostratigraphy of Norway, with some comments on the Rasenia cymadoce Zone. Palaeontology 21: 31–63Google Scholar
  5. Bremer GMA, Dypvik H, Smelror M, Nagy J (2001) Biotic responses to the marine Mjølnir meteorite impact (Volgian-Ryazaian boundary, Barents Sea). 7th Workshop of the ESF Impact Programme, Sbumarine Craters and Eject-Crater Correlations, and Icy Impacts and Icy Targets. NGF Abstracts and Proceedings 1 (2001): 11–12Google Scholar
  6. Bremer GMA, Smelror M, Nagy J, Vigran JO (2004) Biotic responses to the Mjølnir meteorite impact, Barents Sea: Evidence from a core drilled within the crater. In: Dypvik H, Burchell M, Claeys P (eds) Cratering in Marine Environments and on Ice, Impact Studies vol. 5, Springer Verlag, Heidelberg, pp 21–38Google Scholar
  7. Brinkhuis H, Zachariasse WJ (1988) Dinoflagellate cysts, sea level changes and planktonic foraminifers across the K/T boundary at El Haria, Northwest Tunisia. Marine Micropaleontology 13: 153–191CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Bugge T, Elvebakk G, Fanavoll S, Mangerud G, Smelror M, Weiss HM, Gjelberg J, Kristensen SE, Nilsen K (2002) Shallow stratigraphic drilling applied in hydrocarbon exploration of the Nordkapp Basin, Barents Sea. Marine and Petroleum Geology 19: 13–37CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Cavin L (2001) Effects of the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary event on bony fishes. In: Buffetaut E, Koeberl C (eds) Geological and Biological Effects of Impact Events, Impact Studies vol. 1, Springer-Verlag, Heidelberg, pp141–158Google Scholar
  10. Coccioni R, Basso D, Brinkhuis H, Galeotti S, Gardin S, Monechi S, Spezzaferri S (2000) Marine biotic signals across a late Eocene impact layer at Massignano, Italy: evidence for long-term environmental perturbations? Terra Nova 12: 258–263CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Dallmann W (ed) (1999) Lithostratigraphic Lexicon of Svalbard. Norsk Polarinstitutt, Tromsø, 214 ppGoogle Scholar
  12. D’Hondt S, Pilson MEQ, Sigurdsson H, Hanson Jr AK, Carey S (1994) Surfacewater acidification and extinction at the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary. Geology 22: 983–986CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Dypvik H, Ferrell RE Jr (1998) Clay mineral alteration associated with a meteroite impact in the marine environment (Barents Sea). Clay Minerals 33: 51–64CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Dypvik H, Nagy J, Eikeland T-A, Backer-Owe K, Johansen H (1991a) Depositional conditions of the Bathonian to Hauterivian Janusfjellet Subgroup, Spitsbergen. Sedimentary Geology 72: 55–78CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Dypvik H, Nagy J, Eikeland T-A, Backer-Owe K, Andresen A, Haremo P, Bjærke T, Johansen H (1991b) The Janusfjellet Subgroup (Bathonian to Hauterivian) on central Spitsbergen; a revised lithostratigraphy. Polar Research 9: 21–43Google Scholar
  16. Dypvik H, Gudlaugsson ST, Tsikalas F, Attrep M Jr, Ferrell RE Jr, Kringsley DH, Mørk A, Faleide JI, Nagy J (1996) Mjølnir structure: An impact crater in the Barents Sea. Geology 24: 779–782CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Dypvik H, Kyte FT, Smelror M (2000) Iridium peaks and algal blooms — The Mjølnir impact [abs.]. Lunar and Planetary Science 31, Abstract #1538, CDROMGoogle Scholar
  18. Dypvik H, Mørk A, Smelror M, Sandbakken PT, Tsikalas F, Vigran JO, Bremer GMA, Nagy J, Gabrielsen RH, Faleide JI, Bahiru GM, Weiss HM (2004) Impact breccia and ejecta from the Mjølnir Crater in the Barents Sea — The Ragnarok Formation and Sindre Bed. Norwegian Journal of Geology 84: 143–167Google Scholar
  19. Erickson DJ, Dickson SM (1987) Global trace-element biogeochemistry at the K/T boundary, oceanic and biotic response to a hypothetical meteorite impact. Geology 15: 1014–1017CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Fogg GE (2002) Harmful algae-a perspective. Harmful Algae 1: 1–4CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Grieve RAF (1998) Extraterrestrial impacts on earth: the evidence and consequences. In: Grady MM, Hutchison R, McCall GJH, Rothery DA (eds) Meteorites: Flux with Time and Impact Effects. Geological Society, London, Special Publication 140, 105–131Google Scholar
  22. Gudlaugsson ST (1993) Large impact crater in the Barents Sea. Geology 21: 291–294CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Harries PJ, Kauffman EG, Hansen TA (1996) Models for biotic survival following mass extinction. In: Hart MB (ed) Biotic Recovery from Mass Extinction Events. Geological Society, London, Special Publication 102: 41–60Google Scholar
  24. Håkansson E, Birkelund T, Piasecki S, Zakharov V (1981) Jurassic-Cretaceous boundary strata of the extreme Arctic (Peary Land, North Greenland). Bulletin of the Geological Society of Denmark 30: 11–42Google Scholar
  25. Jansa LF (1993) Cometary impacts into ocean: their recognition and the threshold constraint for biological extinctions. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 104:271–286CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Jansa LF, Aubry P-M, Gradstein FM (1990) Comets and extinctions: Cause and effects? In: Sharpton VL, Ward PD (eds) Global Catastrophes in Earth History. Geological Society of America Special Paper 247: 223–232Google Scholar
  27. Johnsen G, Volent Z, Tangen K, Sakshaug E (1997) Time Series of Harmful and Benign Phytoplankton Blooms in Northwest European Waters Using the Seawatch Buoy System. In: Kahru M and Brown CW (eds) Monitoring Algal Blooms: New Techniques for Dectecting Large-Scale Environmental Change, Landes Bioscience, pp 113–141Google Scholar
  28. Kaiho K, Lamolda M (1999) Catastrophic extinction of planktonic foraminifera at the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary evidenced by stable isotopes and foraminiferal abundance at Caravaca, Spain. Geology 27: 355–358CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Kauffman EG, Harries PJ (1996) The importance of crisis progenitors in recovery from mass extinctions. In: Hart, MB (ed) Biotic Recovery from Mass Extinction Events, Geological Society of London Special Publication 102: 15–39Google Scholar
  30. Kiessling W, Claeys P (2001) A Geographic Database Approach to the KT boundary. In: Buffetaut E, Koeberl C (eds) Geological and Biological Effects of Impact events, Impact Studies vol. 1, Springer-Verlag, Heidelberg, pp 141–158Google Scholar
  31. Leith TL, Weiss HM, Mørk A., Århus N, Elvebakk G, Embry AF, Brooks PW, Stewart KR, Pchlina TM, Bro EG, Verba ML, Danyushevskaya A, Borisov AV (1993) Mesozoic hydrocarbon source-rocks of the Arctic region. In: Vorren TO, Bergsaker E, Dahl-Stamnes ØA, Holter, E, Johansen B, Lie E, Lund TB (eds) Arctic Geology and Petroleum Potential. Norwegian Petroleum Society Special Publication 2, Elsevier, Amsterdam, pp 1–25Google Scholar
  32. Lewis JS, Hampton Watkins G, Hartman H, Prinn RG (1982) Chemical consequences of major impact events on Earth. In: Silver LT, Schultz, PH (eds) Geological implications of impacts of large asteroids and comets on the Earth. Geological Society of America Special Paper 190: 215–221Google Scholar
  33. MacRae RA, Fensome RA, Williams GL (1996) Fossil dinoflagellate diversity, originations, and extinctions and their significance. Canadian Journal of Botany 74: 1687–1694Google Scholar
  34. Melosh HJ (1982) The mechanics of large meteoroid impacts in the Earth’s oceans. In: Silver LT, Schultz PH (eds) Geological implications of impacts of large asteroids and comets on the Earth. Geological Society of America Special Paper 190: 121–127Google Scholar
  35. Milne DH, McKay CP (1982) Response of marine plankton communities to a global atmospheric darkening. In: Silver LT, Schultz PH (eds) Geological implications of impacts of large asteroids and comets on the Earth. Geological Society of America Special Paper 190: 297–303Google Scholar
  36. Molina E, Arenillas I, Arz JA (1998) Mass extinction in planktic foraminifera at the Cretaceous/Tertiary boundary in subtropical and temperate latitudes. Bulletin de la Société géologique de France 169: 351–363Google Scholar
  37. Nøttvedt A, Cecchi M, Gjeldberg JG, Kristensen SE, Lønøy A, Rasmussen A, Skott PH, van Veen PM (1993) Svalbard-Barents Sea correlation: a short review. In: Vorren TO, Bergsaker E, Dahl-Stamnes ØA, Holter, E, Johansen B, Lie E, Lund TB (eds) Arctic Geology and Petroleum Potential. Norwegian Petroleum Society Special Publication 2. Elsevier, Amsterdam, pp 363–375Google Scholar
  38. O’Keefe JD, Ahrens TJ (1989) Impact production of CO2 by the Cretaceous/Tertiary extinction bolide and resulting heating of the Earth. Nature 338: 247–249CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Pollack JB, Toon OB, Ackerman TP, McKay CP, Turco RP (1993) Environmental effects of an impact-generated dust cloud: Implications for the Cretaceous-Tertiary extinctions. Science 219: 287–289Google Scholar
  40. Pospichal JJ (1994) Calcareous nannofossils and the K/T boundary: An update: New developments regarding the KT event and other catastrophes in Earth history [abs.]. Lunar and Planetary Institute Contribution 825, p 90Google Scholar
  41. Rampino MR, Haggerty BM (1996) Impact crises and mass extinctions: A working hypothesis. In: Ryder G, Fastovsky D, Gartner S (eds) The Cretaceous-Tertiary Event and Other Catastrophes in Earth History. Geological Society of America, Special Paper 307, pp 11–30Google Scholar
  42. Rocchia R, Robin E, Smit J, Pierrard O, Lefevre I (2001) K/T impact remains in an ammonite from the uppermost Maastrichtian of Bidart section (French Basque Country). In: Buffetaut E, Koeberl C (eds) Geological and Biological Effects of Impact Events, Impact Studies vol. 1, Springer Verlag, Berlin Heidelberg, pp 141–158Google Scholar
  43. Sandbakken P, Dypvik H (2001) The Mjølnir Crater — A core description. 7th Workshop of the ESF Impact Program. NGF Abstracts and Proceedings of the Norwegian Geological Society 1: 69–70Google Scholar
  44. Shuvalov V, Dypvik H, (2004) Ejecta formation and crater development of the Mjølnir impact. Meteoritics and Planetary Sciences 39: 467–479CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Shuvalov V, Dypvik H, Tsikalas F (2002) Numerical simulations of the Mjølnir impact crater. Journal of Geophysical Research 107: doi: 10.1029/2001JE001698, 1-1–1-12CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Sigurdsson H, D’Hondt S, Carey S (1992) The impact of the Cretaceous/Tertiary bolide on evaporite terrane and generation of major sulfuric aerosol. Earth and Planetary Science Letters 109: 543–559CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Smelror M, Dypvik H (2005) Dinoflagellate cyst and prasinophyte biostratigraphy of the Volgian-Ryazanian boundary strata, western Barents Shelf. Norges geologiske undersøkelse Bulletin 443:61–69Google Scholar
  48. Smelror M, Mørk A, Monteil E, Rutledge D, Leereveld H (1998) The Klippfisk Formation-a lithostratigraphic unit of Lower Cretaceous platform carbonates on the Western Barents Shelf. Polar Research 17: 181–202Google Scholar
  49. Smelror M, Kelly SRA, Dypvik H, Mørk A, Nagy J, Tsikalas F (2001a) Mjølnir (Barents Sea) meteorite impact offers a Volgian-Ryazanian boundary marker. Newsletter on Stratigraphy 38: 129–140Google Scholar
  50. Smelror M, Dypvik H, Mørk A (2001b) Phytoplankton Blooms in the Jurassic-Cretaceous Boundary Beds of the Barents Sea Possibly Induced by the Mjølnir Impact. In: Buffetaut E, Koeberl C (eds) Geological and Biological Effects of Impact Events, Impact Studies vol. 1, Springer Verlag, Heidelberg, pp 69–81Google Scholar
  51. Smelror M, Mørk MBE, Mørk A, Løseth H, Weiss HM (2001c) Middle Jurassic-Lower Cretaceous transgressive-regressive sequences and facies distribution off Troms, northern Norway. In: Martinsen OJ, Dreyer T (eds) Sedimentary Environments Offshore Norway-Palaeozoic to Recent. Norwegian Petroleum Society Special Publication 10, Elsevier, Amsterdam, pp 211–232Google Scholar
  52. Smit J (1990) Meteorite impact, extinctions and the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary. Geologie en Mijnbouw 69: 187–204Google Scholar
  53. Tsikalas F, Faleide JI (2003) Near-field Erosional Features at the Mjølnir Impact Crater: the Role of Marine Sedimentary Target. In: Dypvik H, Burchell M, Claeys P (eds) Cratering in Marine Environments and on Ice, Impact Studies vol. 5, Springer Verlag, Heidelberg, pp 39–55Google Scholar
  54. Tsikalas F, Gudlaugsson ST, Faleide JI (1998a) The anatomy of a buried complex impact structure: the Mjølnir structure, Barents Sea. Journal of Geophysical Research 103: 30 469–30 484CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Tsikalas F, Gudlaugsson ST, Faleide JI (1998b) Collapse, infilling, and post-impact deformation at the Mjølnir impact structure, Barents Sea. Geological Society of America Bulletin 110: 537–552CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Tsikalas F, Gudlaugsson ST, Eldholm O, Faleide JI (1998c) Integrated geophysical analysis supporting the impact origin of the Mjølnir Structure, Barents Sea. Tectonophysics 289: 257–280CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Wignall PB, Hallam A (1991) Biofacies, stratigraphic distribution and depositional models of British onshore Jurassic black shales. In: Tyson RV, Pearson TH (eds) Modern and Ancient Continental Shelf Anoxia. Geological Society of London Special Publication 58, pp 291–309Google Scholar
  58. Wollbach WS, Lewis RS, Anders E (1985) Cretaceous extinctions: Evidence for wildfires and search for meteoritic material. Science 230: 167–170Google Scholar
  59. Zakharov V, Surlyk F, Dalland A (1981) Upper Jurassic-Lower Cretaceous Buchia from Andøya, northern Norway. Norsk Geologisk Tidsskrift 61: 261–269Google Scholar
  60. Århus N (1991) The transition from deposition of condensed carbonates to dark claystones in the Lower Cretaceous succession of the southwestern Barents Sea. Norsk Geologisk Tidsskrift 71: 259–263Google Scholar
  61. Århus N, Kelly SRA, Collins JSH, Sandy MR (1990) Systematic palaeontology and biostratigraphy of two Early Cretaceous condensed sections from the Barents Sea. Polar Research 8: 165–194Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Morten Smelror
    • 1
  • Henning Dypvik
    • 2
  1. 1.Geological Survey of NorwayTrondheimNorway
  2. 2.Department of GeosciencesUniversity of OsloBlindern, OsloNorway

Personalised recommendations