Skip to content

Research at St Andrews

Rapid ocean acidification and protracted Earth system recovery followed the end-Cretaceous Chicxulub impact

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Author(s)

Michael J. Henehan, Andy Ridgwell, Ellen Thomas, Shuang Zhang, Laia Alegret, Daniela N. Schmidt, James W. B. Rae, James D. Witts, Neil H. Landman, Sarah E. Greene, Brian T. Huber, James R. Super, Noah J. Planavsky, Pincelli M. Hull

School/Research organisations

Abstract

Mass extinction at the Cretaceous–Paleogene (K-Pg) boundary coincides with the Chicxulub bolide impact and also falls within the broader time frame of Deccan trap emplacement. Critically, though, empirical evidence as to how either of these factors could have driven observed extinction patterns and carbon cycle perturbations is still lacking. Here, using boron isotopes in foraminifera, we document a geologically rapid surface-ocean pH drop following the Chicxulub impact, supporting impact-induced ocean acidification as a mechanism for ecological collapse in the marine realm. Subsequently, surface water pH rebounded sharply with the extinction of marine calcifiers and the associated imbalance in the global carbon cycle. Our reconstructed water-column pH gradients, combined with Earth system modeling, indicate that a partial ∼50% reduction in global marine primary productivity is sufficient to explain observed marine carbon isotope patterns at the K-Pg, due to the underlying action of the solubility pump. While primary productivity recovered within a few tens of thousands of years, inefficiency in carbon export to the deep sea lasted much longer. This phased recovery scenario reconciles competing hypotheses previously put forward to explain the K-Pg carbon isotope records, and explains both spatially variable patterns of change in marine productivity across the event and a lack of extinction at the deep sea floor. In sum, we provide insights into the drivers of the last mass extinction, the recovery of marine carbon cycling in a postextinction world, and the way in which marine life imprints its isotopic signal onto the geological record.
Close

Details

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)22500-22504
Number of pages5
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Volume116
Issue number45
Early online date21 Oct 2019
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 5 Nov 2019

    Research areas

  • Cretaceous/Paleogene boundary, Ocean acidification, Boron isotopes, Mass extinction, GENIE model

Discover related content
Find related publications, people, projects and more using interactive charts.

View graph of relations

Related by author

  1. Controls on boron isotopes in a cold-water coral and the cost of resilience to ocean acidification

    Gagnon, A., Gothmann, A., Branson, O., Rae, J. W. B. & Stewart, J., 15 Jan 2021, In: Earth and Planetary Science Letters. 554, 10 p., 116662.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

  2. Overturning circulation, nutrient limitation, and warming in the Glacial North Pacific

    Rae, J. W. B., Gray, W. R., Wills, R. C. J., Eisenman, I., Fitzhugh, B., Fotheringham, M., Littley, E., Rafter, P. A., Rees-Owen, R. L., Ridgwell, A., Taylor, B. & Burke, A., 9 Dec 2020, In: Science Advances. 6, 50, 13 p., eabd1654.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

  3. NIST RM 8301 boron isotopes in marine carbonate (simulated coral and foraminifera solutions): inter-laboratory δ11B and trace element ratio value assignment

    Stewart, J. A., Christopher, S. J., Kucklick, J. R., Bordier, L., Chalk, T. B., Dapoigny, A., Douville, E., Foster, G. L., Gray, W. R., Greenop, R., Gutjahr, M., Hemsing, F., Henehan, M. J., Holdship, P., Hsieh, Y-T., Kolevica, A., Lin, Y-P., Mawbey, E. M., Rae, J. W. B., Robinson, L. F. & 4 others, Shuttleworth, R., You, C-F., Zhang, S. & Day, R. D., 30 Nov 2020, In: Geostandards and Geoanalytical Research. Earky View, 20 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

  4. Sub-permil interlaboratory consistency for solution-based boron isotope analyses on marine carbonates

    Gutjahr, M., Bordier, L., Douville, E., Farmer, J., Foster, G. L., Hathorne, E. C., Hönisch, B., Lemarchand, D., Louvat, P., McCulloch, M., Noireaux, J., Pallavicini, N., Rae, J. W. B., Rodushkin, I., Roux, P., Stewart, J. A., Thil, F. & You, C-F., 11 Nov 2020, In: Geostandards and Geoanalytical Research. Early View, 17 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

  5. Rapid shifts in circulation and biogeochemistry of the Southern Ocean during deglacial carbon cycle events

    Li, T., Robinson, L. F., Chen, T., Wang, X. T., Burke, A., Rae, J. W. B., Pegrum-Haram, A., Knowles, T. D. J., Li, G., Chen, J., Ng, H. C., Prokopenko, M., Rowland, G., Samperiz, A., Stewart, J. A., Southon, J. & Spooner, P. T., 16 Oct 2020, In: Science Advances. 6, 42, 10 p., eabb3807.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Related by journal

  1. A TDDFT investigation of the Photosystem II reaction center: Insights into the precursors to charge separation

    Kavanagh, M. A., Karlsson, J. K. G., Colburn, J. D., Barter, L. M. C. & Gould, I. R., 18 Aug 2020, In: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 117, 33, p. 19705-19712 8 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

  2. Acute social isolation alters neurogenomic state in songbird forebrain

    George, J., Bell, Z., Condliffe, D., Doher, K., Abaurrea, T., Spencer, K., Leitao, A., Gahr, M., Hurd, P. & Clayton, D. F., 22 Sep 2020, In: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 117, 38, p. 23311-23316

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

  3. An evolutionary switch from sibling rivalry to sibling cooperation, caused by a sustained loss of parental care

    Rebar, D., Bailey, N. W., Jarrett, B. J. M. & Kilner, R. M., 4 Feb 2020, In: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 117, 5, p. 2544-2550 7 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

  4. Coastal heritage, global climate change, public engagement, and citizen science

    Dawson, T., Hambly, J., Kelley, A., Lees, W. & Miller, S., 14 Apr 2020, In: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 117, 15, p. 8280-8286

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

  5. Electronically driven spin-reorientation transition of the correlated polar metal Ca3Ru2O7

    Markovic, I., Watson, M. D., Clark, O. J., Mazzola, F., Abarca Morales, E., Hooley, C., Rosner, H., Polley, C. M., Balasubramanian, T., Mukherjee, S., Kikugawa, N., Sokolov, D. A., Mackenzie, A. & King, P. D. C., 7 Jul 2020, In: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 117, 27, p. 15524-15529 6 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Related by journal

  1. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (Journal)

    Michael Martin Nevels (Guest editor)

    Jul 2016 → …

    Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial work typesEditor of research journal

  2. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (Journal)

    Oscar Eduardo Gaggiotti (Member of editorial board)

    1 Jan 2013 → …

    Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial work typesPeer review of manuscripts

  3. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (Journal)

    Terry K Smith (Member of editorial board)

    2012 → …

    Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial work typesPeer review of manuscripts

  4. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (Journal)

    Terry K Smith (Member of editorial board)

    2008 → …

    Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial work typesPeer review of manuscripts

  5. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (Journal)

    Gareth Brian Miles (Reviewer)

    2006 → …

    Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial work typesPeer review of manuscripts

ID: 262232604

Top