EGU21-10700, updated on 10 Jan 2023
EGU General Assembly 2021
© Author(s) 2023. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Paroxysmal Deccan Eruptions linked to End-Cretaceous Mass Extinction

Thierry Adatte1, Gerta Keller2, Jorge E. Spangenberg3, Paula Mateo4, Jahnavi Punekar5, Johannes Monkenbusch6, Nicolas Thibault6, Sigal Abramovich7, Blair Schoene2, Michael P. Eddy8, Kyle Samperton9, and Syed F.R. Khadri10
Thierry Adatte et al.
  • 1Lausanne, Institute of Earth Sciences, ISTE, Lausanne, Switzerland (
  • 2Department of Geosciences, Princeton University, USA
  • 3Institute of Earth Surface Dynamics, IDYST, University of Lausanne, Switzerland.
  • 4Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences, CALTECH, USA
  • 5Indian Institute of Technology Bombay, Mumbai, 400 076, India
  • 6Department of Geosciences, University of Copenhagen, Denmark
  • 7Department of Geological and Environmental Sciences, Ben Gurion University, Israel
  • 8Department of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences, Purdue University, USA.
  • 9Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Livermore, CA 94550, USA.
  • 10Department of Geology, Amravati University, Amravati, India

The Chicxulub impact in Mexico and Deccan volcanism in India are both linked to the end-Cretaceous mass extinction but the relative timing of the impact, volcanic eruptions, and environmental changes remain controversial, precluding a full assessment of their respective roles. Mercury anomalies within the stratigraphic record have recently been proposed as atmospheric fallout of continental large igneous provinces (LIPs), and these anomalies are associated with all five major mass extinctions in Earth’s history. If this proxy is robust, it could provide a record of volcanism directly correlated to mass extinctions and in the case of the End-extinction, the Chicxulub impact. To test this hypothesis, we analyzed mercury in the late Maastrichtian from the base of C29r to the Cretaceous-Paleogene boundary (KPB) n the astronomically tuned Elles section in Tunisia, and correlate this chemostratigraphic record with recent high-precision U-Pb geochronology of Deccan volcanism. Our results support that Hg is a robust indicator of LIP volcanism, and directly links Deccan volcanism to rapid global climate changes, ocean acidification and increasing environmental stress during the last 320-340 kyr of the Maastrichtian. Furthermore, our time-resolved Hg record and U-Pb resolved eruption volumes reveal paroxysmal volcanic eruptions (~30% by volume) during the final 35 kyr leading up to the KPB mass extinction.

How to cite: Adatte, T., Keller, G., Spangenberg, J. E., Mateo, P., Punekar, J., Monkenbusch, J., Thibault, N., Abramovich, S., Schoene, B., Eddy, M. P., Samperton, K., and Khadri, S. F. R.: Paroxysmal Deccan Eruptions linked to End-Cretaceous Mass Extinction, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-10700,, 2021.

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