Skip to main content

Environmental changes during the end - Triassic mass extinction

The end-Triassic mass extinction is associated with intense environmental disturbances including a major carbon cycle perturbation, widespread oxygen deficiency and elevated temperatures within the oceans. Intense magmatic activity, known as the Central Atlantic Magmatic Province (CAMP), has been identified as a potential trigger for these environmental stressors. Using a multidisciplinary approach I participate in studies of marine Triassic-Jurassic boundary sections in the Central European Basin (Bonenburg, Germany) and the remote former volcanic islands of Wrangellia which today form part of an extended exotic terrane in SE Alaska. Our aims are to establish a robust stratigraphic framework for the Triassic–Jurassic transition, to reconstruct the changes in marine communities, and to link them to changes in the global carbon, nitrogen and sulfur cycles and marine redox conditions. The present-day Alaskan localities will provide the rare opportunity to study the biological and environmental changes in an open ocean setting within the former equatorial Panthalassan Ocean and thus to yield insights into the global extent of the crisis. The Bonenburg section in Germany offers the possibility to compare Triassic–Jurassic transitional beds of the Central European Basin with those from well-studied western Tethys shelf seas.

Project title

Investigating the palaeontological and geochemical records of the end-Triassic mass extinction in the Central European Basin and the Panthalassan Ocean


For Bonenburg, Germany:

  • Robert Bussert, TU Berlin
  • Julia Gravendyck, FU Berlin
  • Wolfram Kürschner, University of Oslo
  • Martin Schobben, University of Leeds

For Alaska:

  • Andrew Caruthers, University of Michigan
  • Benjamin Gill, Virginia Tech
  • Darren Grocke, Durham University
  • Selva Marroquin, Virginia Tech
  • Jeremy Owens, Florida State University
  • Theodore Them, Florida State University
  • João Trabucho Alexandre, Utrecht University




National Geographic – Explorer Grant to Andrew Caruthers