Biotic and environmental changes in the Permian-Triassic boundary interval recorded on a western Tethyan ramp in the Bükk Mountains, Hungary

János Haas, Attila Demény, Kinga Hips, Norbert Zajzon, Tamás G. Weiszburg, Milan Sudar, József Pálfy

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Complete, continuous marine Permian-Triassic (P-T) boundary sections in the Bükk Mountains, Northern Hungary, represent a ramp setting on the margin of the western Tethys. The Upper Permian succession comprises limestone rich in calcareous algae, foraminifera, and skeletal fragments of metazoans. A significant reduction of biogenic components occurs in the topmost limestone layers below the "boundary shale bed" (BSB). It coincides with the beginning of a gradual negative shift in δ13Ccarb values that continues into the BSB. The BSB consists predominantly of marly siltstones that are similar to the insoluble residue of the underlying limestone. A second biotic decline is recorded in the upper-third of the BSB, where the continuous negative shift in δ13C values is superimposed by a sharp and quasi-symmetric negative peak. The δ13C peak is confined to the shale bed and is not correlated with the lithological change, therefore diagenetic or other secondary effects are ruled out. The carbon isotope signal reflects primary processes related to significant changes in environmental conditions. Correlation and comparison of sedimentological, biotic, geochemical and mineralogical features of the studied sections in the Bükk Mountains with other Tethyan P-T sections in the Southern Alps, Dinarides, Iran, Kasmir (India) and southern China are discussed. The continuous shift in δ13C values is most probably related to a decrease in bioproductivity, whereas the sharp peak is attributed to an addition of C strongly depleted in 13C isotope to the ocean-atmosphere system. The most plausible model is a massive release of methane from gas-hydrate dissociation. This event led to the extinction of the already impoverished biota. Scarcity of metazoans and prolonged unfavourable environmental conditions gave rise to a bloom of microbial communities. Mineralogical and geochemical analyses failed to reveal any evidence for extraterrestrial effects or synchronous volcanism were found in the studied sections.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)136-154
Number of pages19
JournalGlobal and Planetary Change
Issue number1-3
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2007



  • Bükk Mountains
  • Permian-Triassic boundary
  • detrital minerals
  • microfacies
  • stable isotopes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Oceanography

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