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Permian extinction not a global event

Geological Society of America

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IMAGE:  "The Permian Extinction and the Tethys: An Exercise in Global Geology " is authored by A.M. Celâl Şengör and Saniye Atayman. view more

Credit: Geological Society of America

Boulder, CO, USA - Understanding the cause of the extinction that wiped out some 95% of the living species at the end of the Palaeozoic Era has been one of the greatest problems in the earth and life sciences. All explanations so far proposed have been based on global causes. This Special Paper from the Geological Society of America presents a new approach, one that focuses on the supercontinent of Pangea and the life-rich, enclosed oceanic realm, the Paleo-Tethys.

Authors A.M. Celâl Şengör and Saniye Atayman of Istanbul Technical University note that the usual approaches to extinction overlook the fact that at the end of the Paleozoic all landmasses were fused together as one giant continent, Pangaea. The supercontinent's internal ocean, the Paleo-Tethys, included the richest niches in the late Permian world. According to Şengör and Atayman, the extinctions occurred within and around this ocean, giving the Permian devastation the aspect of a universal extinction. "What little data we have from the rest of the world indicate that the same extinction did not happen there--except where the surrounding waters were polluted by Palaeo-Tethyan spills." This book documents the history of the Paleo-Tethys and shows that the Permian extinction was an expected result of the peculiarity of the global geography at that time.

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Individual copies of Special Paper 448 may be purchased through the Geological Society of America online bookstore, http://rock.geosociety.org/Bookstore/default.asp?oID=0&catID=9&pID=SPE448, or by contacting GSA Sales and Service, gsaservice@geosociety.org.

Book editors of earth science journals/publications may request a review copy by contacting Jeanette Hammann, jhammann@geosociety.org.

The Permian Extinction and the Tethys: An Exercise in Global Geology
A.M. Celâl Şengör and Saniye Atayman
Geological Society of America Special Paper 448
2009, 86 pages plus index, US$45.00, GSA member price US$33.50
ISBN 978-0-8137-2448-5

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