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An extremely brief end Ordovician mass extinction linked to abrupt onset of glaciation.

Ling, Ming-Xing and Zhan, Ren-Bin and Wang, Guang-Xu and Wang, Yi and Amelin, Yuri and Tang, Peng and Liu, Jian-Bo and Jin, Jisuo and Huang, Bing and Wu, Rong-Chang and Xue, Shuo and Fu, Bin and Bennett, Vickie C. and Wei, Xin and Luan, Xiao-Cong and Finnegan, Seth and Harper, David A.T. and Rong, Jia-Yu (2019) 'An extremely brief end Ordovician mass extinction linked to abrupt onset of glaciation.', Solid earth sciences., 4 (4). pp. 190-198.


The end Ordovician mass extinction (EOME) was the second most severe biotic crisis in Phanerozoic, and has been widely linked to a major glaciation. However, robust geochronology of this interval is still lacking. Here we present four successive high-precision zircon U–Pb dates by isotope dilution thermal ionization mass spectrometry (ID-TIMS) for biostratigraphically well-constrained K-bentonites of a continuous Ordovician-Silurian boundary section at Wanhe, SW China. They include 444.65 ± 0.22 Ma (middle Dicellograptus complexus Biozone), 444.06 ± 0.20 Ma (lower Paraorthograptus pacificus Biozone), 443.81 ± 0.24 Ma (upper Tangyagraptus typicus Subzone), and 442.99 ± 0.17 Ma (upper Metabolograptus extraordinarius Biozone). Calculations based on sedimentation rates suggest a duration of 0.47 ± 0.34 Ma for the Hirnantian Stage, which is much shorter than previously thought (1.4 ± 2.05 Ma in the International Chronostratigraphic Chart ver. 2019/05). The new data also constrain the Hirnantian glacial maximum to ∼0.2 Ma, supporting that its brevity and intensity probably triggered the EOME.

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Publisher statement:Copyright © 2019, Guangzhou Institute of Geochemistry. Production and hosting by Elsevier B.V. This is an open access article under the CCBY-NC-ND license (
Date accepted:10 November 2019
Date deposited:09 January 2020
Date of first online publication:09 December 2019
Date first made open access:09 January 2020

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