Collaborative Research: The Siberian Traps and the end-Permian Extinction: Coincidence and Causality

Project: Research project

Project Details


This project address an important, and unresolved question in Earth evolution, i.e. did the eruption of the Siberian Large Igneous Province (LIP) a.k.a. Siberian Traps cause the Permo-Triassic extinction? In reality there are two questions at the heart of this proposal; what causes flood basalts and do flood basalts cause extinctions? These questions have been the subject of active research for several decades. One of the unique aspects of this project is that both are addressed simultaneously by an international team of experts whose goal is to gain an in-depth understanding of this LIP from its origin to both short-and long-term effects on Earth systems. The PIs will use a large suite of techniques: geochemistry, geothermometry, paleomagnetics, seismology, geodynamics, paleontology, and climate modeling to achieve their goal. Specifically, the PIs will:

> create high-precision eruption time scales for the entire volcanic succession, thus obtaining flux rates;

> quantify the volatile loads of the igneous rocks including lavas, intrusives, and in particular the voluminous tuffs;

> quantify volatile release from country rocks;

> begin to map the crustal and upper-mantle structure beneath the region using existing seismic data and geodynamical modeling;

> study the climatic consequences of sulfur injection and buildup of atmospheric carbon dioxide; and

> continue detailed studies of the end-Permian extinction, using paleontology, stable isotope geochemistry, and geochronology.

Broader Impacts:

The PI team consists of scientists from 7 different countries. A central repository will be created for samples obtained under this project. Information will be maintained on the web and material made available to other scientists. A documentary film producer associated with the National Geographic Corporation will be in the field with the PIs gathering footage for a film about the project. Additional coverage is will be provided through the American Museum of Natural History?s Science Bulletins, short films about current research that are shown at the AMNH and distributed to over 40 science centers and museums around the world.

Effective start/end date8/15/087/31/16


  • National Science Foundation: $373,492.00


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