An eastern Tethyan (Tibetan) record of the Early Jurassic (Toarcian) mass extinction event


Corresponding author: P. B. Wignall. Tel.: 0113 3435247; fax: 0113 3435259; e-mail:


A record of the Early Jurassic mass extinction event is reported from eastern Tethyan (Tibetan) locations for the first time. In the Mount Everest region a thick Lower Jurassic carbonate formation, here named the Yungjia Formation, is developed within the predominantly clastic Triassic–Jurassic succession. Within the formation a sharp transition from peloidal packstones/grainstones to thin-bedded, pyritic micrite-shales interbeds records a sharp pulse of deepening and development of dysoxic bottom waters. Both the lithiotid bivalves and the lituolid foraminifera are important constituents of the lower Yungjia Formation but they disappear at this flooding surface or a short distance below it. This extinction event is comparable to that seen at the base of the Pliensbachian/Toarcian boundary in western Tethyan platform carbonates but the Tibetan events occurred late in the Toarcian Stage as indicated by nannofossil biostratigraphy and C isotope chemostratigraphy. The Early Jurassic extinction event (and the associated spread of oxygen-poor waters) was therefore not synchronous throughout the Tethyan region.