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You are here: Home / Library / RBINS Staff Publications / Geochemistry of the Frasnian-Famennian boundary in Belgium: Mass extinction, anoxic oceans and microtektite layer, but not much iridium?

P.a Claeys, F.T.b Kyte, A.a Herbosch and J-G.c Casier (1996)

Geochemistry of the Frasnian-Famennian boundary in Belgium: Mass extinction, anoxic oceans and microtektite layer, but not much iridium?

Special Paper of the Geological Society of America, 307:491-504.

The Late Devonian, and in particular the Frasnian-Famennian (F/F) boundary, records one of the five largest mass extinctions in the fossil record. Glassy spherules believed to be of impact origin are associated with the F/F boundary in two Belgian sections (Senzeille and Hony). They have also been reported in sediments deposited approximately 1.5 to 2 m.y. above the boundary in south China, and in the Canning Basin (Australia) this event coincides with a 300 pg/g Ir anomaly. In this study, the F/F boundary in the Hony section was analyzed for trace and major elements to test the possibility of an Ir anomaly associated with the spherule layer. No significant positive Ir anomaly was detected in the 2 m of section investigated. Nevertheless, chalcophile elements show an increase within the dark shale bed marking the F/F boundary. This increase is interpreted to represent a reduction in oxygen concentrations in the depo-sitional environment. This level must be equivalent to the upper part of the Kellwasser anoxic event recognized throughout the paleo-Tethys in what is now western Europe. The F/F boundary seems to be marked by a succession of major events, including impact, oxygen-depleted water on the shelf, and worldwide extinction of organisms.

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