Evidence for local carbon-cycle perturbations superimposed on the Toarcian carbon isotope excursion

Yunfeng Wang, Frantz Ossa Ossa, Martin Wille, Simon Schurr, Mario Erich Saussele, Annette Schmid-Röhl, Ronny Schoenberg

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A Jurassic negative carbon isotope excursion (CIE), co-evolved with Toarcian Oceanic Anoxic Event (OAE) at ~183 Ma, is suggested to be linked to a global carbon-cycle perturbation and is well documented for Toarcian terrestrial fossil woods and marine sediments around the globe. A theoretically coupled δ13Ccarb13Corg pattern due to such dubbed global carbon-cycle event from the negative CIE in Dotternhausen Toarcian stratigraphic profile (southwest Germany) is unexpectedly disturbed by two-step δ13Ccarb13Corg decoupling in which the last step, upper in the stratigraphic order, is of higher magnitude. However, the trigger(s) for these sudden decoupling disturbances are still poorly constrained. Here, connecting new carbon and oxygen isotope data with documentary lipid biomarkers shows that the global carbon cycle during the Toarcian OAE was disturbed by enhanced green sulfur bacteria (GSB) metabolisms and early diagenesis at local scales. The first step δ13Ccarb13Corg decoupling was induced in the initial stage of the GSB bloom. The second step of much larger δ13Ccarb13Corg decoupling arising from a GSB prosperity was, however, exaggerated by early diagenesis through the respiration of sulfate-reducing bacteria (SRB). Paleo-geographically distinct localities of the Tethys region show contrasting decoupled δ13Ccarb13Corg patterns, which implies that the second-order carbon-cycle perturbations have pervasively and independently impacted the global carbon event during the Toarcian OAE.

Original languageBritish English
Pages (from-to)682-709
Number of pages28
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1 Nov 2020


  • carbon isotope excursion
  • green sulfur bacteria
  • local carbon cycling
  • Toarcian
  • δC-δC decoupling


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