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University of Silesia in Katowice

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Institute of Earth Sciences

Intense submarine volcanism and hydrothermal activity during a mid-Tournaisian anoxic event in the Carnic Alps

03.06.2022 - 14:49 update 03.06.2022 - 15:03
Editors: lukaszmalarzewski

Michał Rakociński, Daria Książak, Agnieszka Pisarzowska and Leszek Marynowski from the Institute of Earth Sciences of the University of Silesia, have published a paper in the prestigious journal Gondwana Research on the influence of intense submarine volcanism and hydrothermal activity on the development of anaerobic conditions in marine environments during the mid-Tournaisian anoxic event. This event occurred about 355 million years ago and affected numerous groups of marine organisms as anaerobic conditions in the seas and oceans emerged on a global scale. Based on geochemical analyses and the occurrence of pyrite framboids, the development of anaerobic conditions in marine sediments from the Carnic Alps was documented. In addition, significant (3650 ppb) mercury anomalies were documented for the first time in Lower Carboniferous sediments in the studied profile, indicative of increased submarine volcanism during this time, which led to a warming climate resulting in the deglaciation of Gondwana and global transgression. Researchers link the presence of pronounced mercury anomalies to submarine arc-volcanism and hydrothermal activity associated with the collision of peri-Gondwanan terranes such as Paleo-Adria and possibly Armorican and/or Noric terranes during the first phase of the Variscan orogeny.

This research is an extended result of the Master’s thesis of Daria Książak, M.Sc. entitled Record of the mid-Tournaisian Anoxic Event in the Kronhofgraben (Carnic Alps, Austria), which was carried out under the supervision of Michał Rakociński, Ph.D., as part of the NCN OPUS research project under his direction entitled Depositional environments during the Lower Alum Shale Event (Early Carboniferous) on the southern shelf of Laurussia in the light of integrated geochemical, paleoecological and facial investigation.

Rakociński, M., Książak, D., Pisarzowska, A., Marynowski, L. 2022. Mercury evidence of intense submarine volcanism and hydrothermal activity during a mid-Tournaisian anoxic event in the Carnic Alps. Gondwana Research 109, 225-238.

https://www.sciencedirect.com/…/abs/pii/S1342937X22001381

Palaeogeography during Tournaisian stage ~350 Ma (Blakey, 2012) showing the location of the Carnic Alps area (red star) and Kowala quarry.
Palaeogeography during Tournaisian stage ~350 Ma (Blakey, 2012) showing the location of the Carnic Alps area (red star) and Kowala quarry.
Graphic abstract showing possible sources of mercury enrichment in the studied sediments.
Graphic abstract showing possible sources of mercury enrichment in the studied sediments.
Depositional model of sedimentation and palaeoenvironmental conditions in the Carnic Alps during the Early Carboniferous.
Depositional model of sedimentation and palaeoenvironmental conditions in the Carnic Alps during the Early Carboniferous.
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