Nitrogen isotope and trace metal analyses from the Mingolsheim core (Germany): Evidence for redox variations across the Triassic-Jurassic boundary



[1] The Triassic-Jurassic (T-J) boundary was one of the largest but least understood mass extinction events in the Phanerozoic. We measured bulk organic nitrogen and carbon isotopes and trace metal concentrations from a core near Mingolsheim (Germany) to infer paleoenvironmental conditions associated with this event. Poorly fossiliferous claystones across the boundary have relatively low δ15N values and low concentrations of redox-sensitive elements, characteristic of an oxic environment with significant terrestrial input. The Early Jurassic features enrichment in δ15N coincident with high redox-sensitive element concentrations, indicating an increase in water column denitrification and decreased oxygen concentrations. These redox state variations are concordant with shifts in abundance and species composition in terrestrial and marine microflora. We propose that the mass extinction at the T-J boundary was caused by a series of events resulting in a long period of stratification, deep-water hypoxia, and denitrification in this region of the Tethys Ocean basin.