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[dinosaur] Triassic-Jurassic extinction: terrestrial plants + French impact crater date (free pdfs)

Ben Creisler

New papers with free pdfs:

Maria Barbacka, Grzegorz Pacyna, Ádam T. Kocsis, Agata Jarzynka, Jadwiga Ziaja & Emese Bodor (2017)
Changes in terrestrial floras at the Triassic-Jurassic Boundary in Europe. 
Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology (advance online publication)
doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.palaeo.2017.05.024

Mass extinction of terrestrial plants at the TJB was tested.
Database of micro- and macrofloras were prepared for European localities.
Statistical approach was applied to detect drastic changes during TJB.
Extinction of terrestrial plant taxa was not detected at TJB in Europe.
Replacement of taxa was mainly caused by ecological succession of local character.


One of the biggest mass extinctions took place at the Triassic-Jurassic Boundary. It affected both marine and terrestrial ecosystems, and caused the disappearance of many animal taxa, mostly marine ones. Its influence on floral changes has been widely discussed, with arguments offered for the sudden mass extinction of plants over vast areas, or, alternatively, for slow, less extensive changes. The aim of this study was to statistically verify changes in terrestrial plant composition during the TJB in Europe, and to examine the type and extent of these changes. Data from Polish localities, an interesting new addition to the floristic data from the TJB, were compared with those from other selected localities in Europe. The database contains 311 macroflora taxa from 106 localities (16 Polish) in 13 countries, grouped into 29 regions; and 571 microflora taxa from 105 localities (29 Polish) in 11 countries, grouped into 37 regions. The analysed data cover the period from the Anisian to the Toarcian stages.

Range-based metrics for diversity dynamics were calculated to show trends in floral changes during the studied time interval, the focus being on the TJB. Due to strong disproportions in the number of localities and occurrences, the Rhaetian and the Hettangian stages were overrepresented. The warm and humid climate of those stages promoted plant diversity and led to the formation of numerous broad floodplains conducive to the preservation of remains (e.g. in coal). The patterns established by the raw data analyses were also assessed by applying a sampling standardisation procedure. Our results, based on accurate data from Poland and the rest of Europe, confirm and visualize a scenario in which there were no significant changes in terrestrial plant composition at the TJB. Hierarchical clustering suggests that local habitat conditions are the key factor in the grouping of localities with similar floristic composition, and that differences between floras are not associated with the time dimension (stages).


Free pdf:

Benjamin E. Cohen, Darren F. Mark, Martin R. Lee and Sarah L. Simpson (2017)
A new high-precision 40Ar/39Ar age for the Rochechouart impact structure: At least 5 Ma older than the Triassic–Jurassic boundary.
Meteoritics & Planetary Science (advance online publication)
DOI: 10.1111/maps.12880

The Rochechourt impact structure in south-central France, with maximum diameter of 40–50 km, has previously been dated to within 1% uncertainty of the Triassic–Jurassic boundary, at which time ~30% of global genera became extinct. To evaluate the temporal relationship between the impact and the Triassic–Jurassic boundary at high precision, we have re-examined the structure's age using multicollector ARGUS-V 40Ar/39Ar mass spectrometry. Results from four aliquots of impact melt are highly reproducible, and yield an age of 206.92 ± 0.20/0.32 Ma (2σ, full analytical/external uncertainties). Thus, the Rochechouart impact structure predates the Triassic–Jurassic boundary by 5.6 ± 0.4 Ma and so is not temporally linked to the mass extinction. Rochechouart has formerly been proposed to be part of a multiple impact event, but when compared with new ages from the other purported “paired” structures, the results provide no evidence for synchronous impacts in the Late Triassic. The widespread Central Atlantic Magmatic Province flood basalts remain the most likely cause of the Triassic–Jurassic mass extinction.