Jonathan Payne, Stanford University Department of Geological and Environmental Sciences

A Multi-Proxy Record of Recovery from the End-Permian Mass Extinction

  • DINNER MEETING - Tuesday, November 8, 2005
  • Location: Stanford University

  • 5:30 PM-Social (3/4) Hour: . . . Mitchell Bldg., first floor (Hartley)
  • 6:15 PM-Dinner: . . . Mitchell Bldg., first floor (Hartley)
  • 7:30 PM-Meeting: . . . GeoCorner Room 320-105

    see Map showing Mitchell and GeoCorner Room 320

    Anyone wishing to attend the lecture only is welcome at no cost.

    This will be the 374th meeting since 1954


    photo of outcrop
    The Permian-Triassic boundary on the Great Bank of Guizhou in Guizhou Province, China. This photo illustrates the contact between underlying fossiliferous Upper Permian platform carbonates and overlying poorly fossiliferous microbial mound (dark) deposited in the immediate aftermath of extinction.

    The extinction pulse at the end of the Permian Period was the most severe since the origin of animal life (~90% species extinction). Extinction was (geologically) rapid, global, and affected both marine and terrestrial organisms and appears to have been associated with rapid global warming. Subsequent recovery appears to have been delayed by as much as 5 million years. Exposure of thick and relatively continuous Late Permian through Late Triassic stratigraphic sections on an isolated carbonate platform in southern China provides the opportunity to link paleontological and biogeochemical data from a single field site through the most dramatic period of biological change in the Phanerozoic.

    Observations of recovery on a shallow carbonate platform in southern China reveal that the five million years of the Early Triassic are characterized by instability of the global carbon cycle, low abundance and small size of skeletal benthic invertebrates, and patterns of calcium carbonate deposition more characteristic of the Proterozoic. The long delay of recovery and persistent carbon cycle instability suggest the end-Permian extinction resulted from terrestrial rather than extraterrestrial causes, and that the style of disturbance associated with rapid extinction persisted, at least intermittently, through the Early Triassic. The exact geological trigger of the event remains poorly understood, but coupled paleontological and biogeochemical datasets provide new constraints on possible extinction and recovery scenarios. The possibility that the extinction was associated with a pronounced and rapid rise in atmospheric pCO2 suggests that the Early Triassic may provide a glimpse of the type of world that could also lie in the near future.

    About the Speaker

    Jonathan Payne is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Geological and Environmental Sciences at Stanford University. He received his B.A. in Geosciences from Williams College in 1997 and his Ph.D. in Earth and Planetary Sciences from Harvard University in 2005. He is interested in the interactions between biological evolution and global environmental change. His research is focused on understanding the environmental and ecological processes governing end-Permian mass extinction and subsequent biological recovery. He approaches research questions using data from paleontology, sedimentology, and biogeochemistry. You can learn more about his research on his website:

    photo of Jon
    Jonathan Payne

    Reservations: The preferred way to make reservations is simply to email Janice Sellers at by November 4, tell her you will attend, commit to pay, and bring your payment to the meeting. Janice always emails a confirmation; if you don't get one, assume email crashed yet again and email her a second time. A check made to "PGS" is preferred, payable at the meeting.

    If you want to pay in advance:

    Stanford faculty and students: Please make dinner reservations by November 4. Contact Dr. Elizabeth Miller via her mailbox (and leave check), Geological and Environmental Sciences Office, Geocorner - Bldg. 320 (Rm. 205). Make checks out to "PGS."

    All others, including faculty and students from other Bay Area universities and colleges and USGS: Please make dinner reservations by November 4. Contact Janice Sellers, at 1066 28th Street, Oakland, CA 94608-4547, (510) 268-8254 . Send check made out to "PGS" to Janice.

    Dinner is $30.00. Includes wine (5:30 to 6:15 PM.) and dinner (6:15-7:30 PM.).

    For students from all universities and colleges, the dinner, including the social 3/4-hour, is $5.00 and is partially subsidized thanks to the School of Earth Sciences, Stanford University (Note, no-show reservations owe the full price).

    Doris, whose wonderful crew prepares our meals, asked that we let you know that people who are late RSVP'ing and people who show up without a reservation will be welcome but that they will be eating on paper plates with plastic utensils (food supply permitting).

    Dues for Academic Year 2005-2006 ($10.00) should be sent to Janice Sellers, 1066 28th Street, Oakland, CA 94608-4547. Janice's phone: (510) 268-8254.

    Officers: Ray Wells, President; Dwight Harbaugh and Elizabeth Miller, Co-Vice Presidents; Mike Diggles, Secretary; Janice Sellers, Treasurer; Bob Coleman, Field-Trip Czar

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    Date created: October 14, 2005
    Last modified: October 27, 2005
    Created by: Mike Diggles, Vice President, PGS.

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