The Collaboration on the Permian-Triassic Critical Transition

The Chinese and US geoscientists have had a long standing cooperative relationship aimed at the advancement of the Permian-Triassic critical transition. The collaboration programs include the end-Permian mass extinction, a high-resolution conodont biostratigraphy of the Permian System in South China, the base-Lopingian and base- Changhsingian GSSPs, a series of isotopic dating across the P-T boundary at the Meishan, Heshan and Tieqiao sections in South China, high-resolution carbon isotope geochemistry, biomarkers and their paleoenvironmental interpretation at the Meishan sections. It was further invigorated since the Symposium on Critical Transition in history of life.

Through a discussion over the past year, studies on the following aspects are expected:

  1. An integrated succession for the Lopingian Series. Establishments of the GSSPs for the two stages of the Lopingian Series in South China provide a unique opportunity to develop a high-resolution biostratigraphical, geochemical and geochronological timescale.
  2. Timing of the PT events. The Meishan sections contain volcanic ash and carbonized tuff at 35 levels. A drilling project was launched in 2004. It's ready to provide with fresh samples of ash beds around the P-T boundary for further investigation in different labs.
  3. A blind test for the suggested extraterrestrial event. In order to determine whether there is credible geochemical evidence to support arguments of an asteroid impact or other extraterrestrial event, studies on Iridium, fullerenes and 3H, platinum group elements, microspherules and other micro-objects will be undertaken.
  4. The organic geochemistry evidence. A dramatic depletion of 6 ppm within Bed 27 was reported earlier but has not been reproduced subsequently. New sample obtained from drill cores will provide an unparallel opportunity for fresh samples.
  5. A comparative study between the Precambrian-Cambrian and Permian-Triassic transition. A comparative study of the paleoenvironmental and paleoeoclogical backgrounds between the Precambrian-Cambrian and Permian-Triassic transitions have special significance on unusual states of ecosystems during the different time intervals.
  6. Co-evolution in P-T terrestrial and marine ecosystems. The eruption of the Emeishan basalt resulted in the formation of a large coal-bearing depositional system and terrestrial alluvial and transitional seamarsh-littoral deposits during the Late Permian, which is the key to unravel the end-Permian mass extinction in both the terrestrial and marine ecosystems.

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     National Science      Foundation

National Natural Science Foundation of China

    Geobiodiversity     Database