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Keywords:

  • Hybrid microbialite;
  • mass extinction;
  • microbialite;
  • stromatolite;
  • thrombolite;
  • Triassic

Abstract

The Permian–Triassic Boundary sequence at Çürük Dag, near Antalya, Turkey, begins with a major erosion surface interpreted as being the Late Permian lowstand, on which lies ca 0·4 m of grainstone/packstone composed of ooids, peloids and bioclasts. Most ooids are superficial coats on fragments of calcite crystals presumed to be eroded from crystal fans which are no longer present. The erosion surface is smooth and shows no evidence of dissolution; the grainstone/packstone contains intraclasts of the underlying wackestone, proving erosion. Next are 15 m of microbialite comprised of interbedded stromatolites, thrombolites, plus beds of planar limestones with small-scale erosion. The latter comprise a complex interlayering of stromatolitic, thrombolitic and peloidal fabrics and precipitated crystal fans, which form a hybrid of microbialite and inorganic carbonate, together with bioclastic debris and micrite. The Çürük Dag microbialite sequence is repetitious; the lower part is more complex, with abundant stromatolites and hybrid microbialites. Some of the stromatolites are themselves hybrids composed of peloids and crystal fans. In the upper part of the sequence stromatolites are missing and the rock is composed mostly of recrystallized thrombolites that develop upwards from tabular to domal form. The domes form directly below small breaks in microbialite growth where very thin shelly micrites and grainstones/packstones are deposited. Repetition of facies may be controlled by sea-level change; a deepening-up model is consistent with the evidence. Stromatolites (with abundant crystal fans) dominate in shallower water, deepening through hybrid microbialite and interlayered sediments to thrombolite, probably no more than a few tens of metres deep, followed by breaks and renewal of microbialite growth. An interpretation of open marine fully oxygenated waters for microbialite growth is consistent with ongoing parallel work that has identified Bairdioid ostracods in the microbialite, a group known to be open marine. However, other researchers have proposed low oxygen conditions for Permian–Triassic boundary facies globally, so work continues to confirm whether the Çürük Dag microbialite grew in dysoxic or normally oxygenated conditions. The principal stimulus for post-extinction microbialites is likely to be carbonate supersaturation of the oceans. The microbialite sequence is overlain by a further 25 m of grainstone/packstone (without microbialite), followed by Early Triassic shales. Overall, microbialites form a thin aggradational sequence during an overall relative sea-level rise, consistent with global eustatic rise following the Late Permian lowstand.