Enhanced continental weathering and large igneous province induced climate warming at the Permo-Carboniferous transition

Jianghai Yang, Peter A. Cawood, Isabel P. Montañez, Daniel J. Condon, Yuansheng Du, Jia Xin Yan, Shaoquan Yan, Dongxun Yuan

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31 Citations (Scopus)


Tracking climate change and its relationships with chemical weathering and massive volcanic activity in deep-time greatly improves our understanding of the Earth's climate system. The Permo-Carboniferous period is a critical time interval with million year-scale glacial-deglacial cycles and massive basaltic volcanism, such as the Skagerrak-Centered (also named Skagerrak or Jutland) large igneous province. To explore the volcanism-climate interactions in this period, we obtained high precision CA-TIMS U-Pb zircon ages for three tuffaceous layers from a cored upper Pennsylvanian-lower Permian marginal marine succession in southern North China. These ages calibrate the Permo-Carboniferous biostratigraphy between ∼301–296 Ma in North China. From this dated core succession, mudrock samples and their calculated weathering index values were screened to constrain the weathering trends for the source landscapes and demonstrate a rapid increase with a subsequent decrease in source chemical weathering intensity during the period of ∼299 to 296.5 Ma. These trends coincide with the southern Gondwana glacial records, low latitude temperature changes, relative sea-level variations, and shifts in atmospheric pCO2 that together document an earliest Permian climate warming-cooling perturbation with a temperature maximum at ∼298 Ma. This climate warming in the Permo-Carboniferous icehouse correlates with the emplacement of the Skagerrak-Centered large igneous province, which likely released voluminous CO2 that led to climate warming during the Permo-Carboniferous transition. The immediately following cooling could possibly result from the rapid post-eruptional weathering of the massive basaltic rocks of this province in tropical latitudes, which would have sequestered atmospheric CO2 and promoted return to cooler icehouse conditions. This study supports the assertation that massive basaltic volcanism could first cause rapid climate warming and then may have an overall net cooling effect as previously suggested for the Deccan Traps and the Central Atlantic Magmatic Province.

Original languageEnglish
Article number116074
JournalEarth and Planetary Science Letters
Publication statusPublished - 15 Mar 2020


  • climate warming
  • early Permian
  • large igneous province
  • mudrock
  • source weathering trends

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