Late Ordovician mass extinction

Marine extinction intensity during the Phanerozoic
Millions of years ago
The blue graph shows the apparent percentage (not the absolute number) of marine animal genera becoming extinct during any given time interval. It does not represent all marine species, just those that are readily fossilized. The labels of the traditional "Big Five" extinction events and the more recently recognised Capitanian mass extinction event are clickable links; see Extinction event for more details. (source and image info)

The Late Ordovician mass extinction (LOME), sometimes known as the end-Ordovician mass extinction or the Ordovician-Silurian extinction, is the first of the "big five" major mass extinction events in Earth's history, occurring roughly 445 million years ago (Ma).[1] It is often considered to be the second-largest known extinction event, in terms of the percentage of genera that became extinct.[2][3] Extinction was global during this interval, eliminating 49–60% of marine genera and nearly 85% of marine species.[4] Under most tabulations, only the Permian-Triassic mass extinction exceeds the Late Ordovician mass extinction in biodiversity loss. The extinction event abruptly affected all major taxonomic groups and caused the disappearance of one third of all brachiopod and bryozoan families, as well as numerous groups of conodonts, trilobites, echinoderms, corals, bivalves, and graptolites.[5][6] Despite its taxonomic severity, the Late Ordovician mass extinction did not produce major changes to ecosystem structures compared to other mass extinctions, nor did it lead to any particular morphological innovations. Diversity gradually recovered to pre-extinction levels over the first 5 million years of the Silurian period.[7][8][9][10]

The Late Ordovician mass extinction is traditionally considered to occur in two distinct pulses.[10] The first pulse (interval), known as LOMEI-1,[11] began at the boundary between the Katian and Hirnantian stages of the Late Ordovician epoch. This extinction pulse is typically attributed to the Late Ordovician glaciation, which abruptly expanded over Gondwana at the beginning of the Hirnantian and shifted the Earth from a greenhouse to icehouse climate.[6][12] Cooling and a falling sea level brought on by the glaciation led to habitat loss for many organisms along the continental shelves, especially endemic taxa with restricted temperature tolerance and latitudinal range.[13][14][12] During this extinction pulse there were also several marked changes in biologically responsive carbon and oxygen isotopes.[10] Marine life partially rediversified during the cold period and a new cold-water ecosystem, the "Hirnantia fauna", was established.[15][10]

The second pulse (interval) of extinction, referred to as LOMEI-2,[11] occurred in the later half of the Hirnantian as the glaciation abruptly receded and warm conditions returned. The second pulse was associated with intense worldwide anoxia (oxygen depletion) and euxinia (toxic sulfide production), which persisted into the subsequent Rhuddanian stage of the Silurian Period.[16][10][17]

Some researchers have proposed the existence of a third distinct pulse of the mass extinction during the early Rhuddanian, evidenced by a negative carbon isotope excursion and a pulse of anoxia into shelf environments amidst already low background oxygen levels. Others, however, have argued that Rhuddanian anoxia was simply part of the second pulse, which according to this view was longer and more drawn out than most authors suggest.[18]

  1. ^ Harper, D. A. T.; Hammarlund, E. U.; Rasmussen, C. M. Ø. (May 2014). "End Ordovician extinctions: A coincidence of causes". Gondwana Research. 25 (4): 1294–1307. Bibcode:2014GondR..25.1294H. doi:10.1016/
  2. ^ Isozaki, Yukio; Servais, Thomas (8 December 2017). "The Hirnantian (Late Ordovician) and end-Guadalupian (Middle Permian) mass-extinction events compared". Lethaia. 51 (2): 173–186. doi:10.1111/let.12252. Retrieved 23 October 2022.
  3. ^ Marshall, Michael (24 May 2010). "The history of ice on Earth". New Scientist. Retrieved 12 April 2018.
  4. ^ Christie, M.; Holland, S. M.; Bush, A. M. (2013). "Contrasting the ecological and taxonomic consequences of extinction". Paleobiology. 39 (4): 538–559. Bibcode:2013Pbio...39..538C. doi:10.1666/12033. S2CID 85313761. ProQuest 1440071324.
  5. ^ Elewa, Ashraf (2008). Late Ordovician Mass Extinction. Springer. p. 252. ISBN 978-3-540-75915-7.
  6. ^ a b Sole, R. V.; Newman, M. (2002). "The earth system: biological and ecological dimensions of global environment change". Encyclopedia of Global Environmental Change, Volume Two: Extinctions and Biodiversity in the Fossil Record. John Wiley & Sons. pp. 297–391.
  7. ^ Droser, Mary L.; Bottjer, David J.; Sheehan, Peter M. (1997-02-01). "Evaluating the ecological architecture of major events in the Phanerozoic history of marine invertebrate life". Geology. 25 (2): 167–170. Bibcode:1997Geo....25..167D. doi:10.1130/0091-7613(1997)025<0167:ETEAOM>2.3.CO;2. ISSN 0091-7613.
  8. ^ Droser, Mary L.; Bottjer, David J.; Sheehan, Peter M.; McGhee, George R. (2000-08-01). "Decoupling of taxonomic and ecologic severity of Phanerozoic marine mass extinctions". Geology. 28 (8): 675–678. Bibcode:2000Geo....28..675D. doi:10.1130/0091-7613(2000)28<675:DOTAES>2.0.CO;2. ISSN 0091-7613.
  9. ^ Brenchley, P. J.; Marshall, J. D.; Underwood, C. J. (2001). "Do all mass extinctions represent an ecological crisis? Evidence from the Late Ordovician". Geological Journal. 36 (3–4): 329–340. doi:10.1002/gj.880. ISSN 1099-1034. S2CID 128870184.
  10. ^ a b c d e Sheehan, Peter M (May 2001). "The Late Ordovician Mass Extinction". Annual Review of Earth and Planetary Sciences. 29 (1): 331–364. Bibcode:2001AREPS..29..331S. doi:10.1146/ ISSN 0084-6597.
  11. ^ a b Cite error: The named reference QiuEtAl2022CommsEarthEnvironment was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  12. ^ a b "Causes of the Ordovician Extinction". Archived from the original on 2008-05-09.
  13. ^ Finnegan, Seth; Heim, Noel A.; Peters, Shanan E.; Fischer, Woodward W. (17 April 2012). "Climate change and the selective signature of the Late Ordovician mass extinction". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 109 (18): 6829–6834. Bibcode:2012PNAS..109.6829F. doi:10.1073/pnas.1117039109. PMC 3345012. PMID 22511717.
  14. ^ Cite error: The named reference :17 was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  15. ^ Cite error: The named reference LatestOrdovicianHirnantiaFauna was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  16. ^ Barash, M. (November 2014). "Mass Extinction of the Marine Biota at the Ordovician–Silurian Transition Due to Environmental Changes". Oceanology. 54 (6): 780–787. Bibcode:2014Ocgy...54..780B. doi:10.1134/S0001437014050014. S2CID 129788917.
  17. ^ Stockey, Richard G.; Cole, Devon B.; Planavsky, Noah J.; Loydell, David K.; Frýda, Jiří; Sperling, Erik A. (14 April 2020). "Persistent global marine euxinia in the early Silurian". Nature Communications. 11 (1): 1804. Bibcode:2020NatCo..11.1804S. doi:10.1038/s41467-020-15400-y. ISSN 2041-1723. PMC 7156380. PMID 32286253. S2CID 215750045.
  18. ^ Baarli, B. Gudveig (1 February 2014). "The early Rhuddanian survival interval in the Lower Silurian of the Oslo Region: A third pulse of the end-Ordovician extinction". Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology. 395: 29–41. doi:10.1016/j.palaeo.2013.12.018. Retrieved 15 November 2022.

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