Disaster and Earth Science

The causes of Permian Mass extinction are still controversial, before knowing that let’s learn some basic terminology about the Causes of Permian Mass extinction and other terms. Any substantial increase in the amount of Extinction suffered by a geologically widespread area during relatively short intervals of time is mass extinction. Many species become extinct in the world so far around 30% of plants and animals of the time died out. The extinct organisms range of ecologists not only in a particular form of plants and animals but in microscopic and large forms also goes extinct. Extinction is worldwide covering most of the continent and the ocean. The extinctions happened in a relatively short interval of time and at a greater rate of extinction than the background rate of extinction level because due to some species can go extinct naturally but for the mass extinction they must have extinct at a higher rate, drastically, for a short interval of time.

The previous history shows that all five mass extinction has closely linked with global temperature. The Permian mass extinction has the highest magnitude of temperature rise and rate of temperature change also faster than the other mass extinction of the time. The previous five mass extinction, all face the decline of biodiversity during the no-oxygen-environment of the earth in the past after forming the Earth, there was negligible oxygen present in the atmosphere and the amount of present O2 of the present atmospheric level was less than 0.01% and the species was sulfur-induced species. Gradually the oxygen level increased by 100% PAL in the Permian world during that time the mass extinction happened.

The diversity of mass extinction:

diversity of mass extinction

The diversity of mass extinction (Credit; Nature communication)

The Permian mass extinction is huge destruction of biodiversity. Almost all the brachiopods, bivalves, Crustaceans, corals, graptolites, gastropods, and trilobites were extinct.  99% of the marine species goes extinct and 70% of the terrestrial species died out during the Permian Triassic mass extinction. There was a major loss of terrestrial flora mostly coinciding with the end of the Permian extinction. The terrestrial devastation is demonstrated by the mass disappearance of the gigantopteris mega flora.

Present Atmospheric Level

Permian mass extinction biodiversity

Permian mass extinction biodiversity. Credit; Fan et al. (2020, Science)

The wildfire is indicated by the increased amount of dibenzofurans followed by high Mercury concentration from southwestern China coincided with environmental plant Extinction and the end of Permian terrestrial ecosystem devastation.  The devastation events which occurred at the Permian time by the volcanism evidenced by the pared coronin is high-temperature combustion proxy and Mercury spikes as a defined proxy for large igneous Province (LIP) emplacement indicate that discrete volcanic eruption could have caused the tterrestrial ecosystem crisis followed by the marine ecosystem crisis. Based on the coronin index as a high-temperature combustion proxy and Mercury spikes is the indication to identify the volcanic eruption event that could have caused the traditional ecosystem crisis followed by the Marine ecosystem crisis.

The erosion event led to an algal bloom which release the toxic components and the oxygen-depleted near shore bottom sea water which served as environmental stresses for Nearshore Marine animals. The evidence from Delta 18 oxygen isotope value indicates that 10 degrees Celsius temperature increase in surface seawater across the end of marine Extinction.



How fast was the Permian mass extinction?

How fast the Permian Mass extinction

The Permian mass extinction is very fast in comparison to other extinction events.

It took 61,000 years for the extinction to occur.  61,000 years is a very long time in comparison to the human life span on the other hand in terms of geologic time scale it is an instant.


The sixth mass extinction is already going on but we do not recognize these things because of human lifespan. The background Extinction rate from the previous five mass extinction is very low than the recent sixth mass extinction event it is higher than the background extinction level is very important to know the Permian mass extinction.


 The distribution of land of the Permian Triassic Mass Extinction


Permian Land mass



The distribution of land is simple as one Pangea was the supercontinent during the mass extinction events.


One Ocean is named Panthalasa and the another is Tethys sea the earth during the Permian mass extinction time.

The climate of the Permian is hotter than today. Around 12 degrees Celsius temperature increased which causes the tropical humid climate is much hotter.

Global warming at the Permian mass extinction


Global warming at the Permian mass extinction. Credit: Joachimski et al. (2013, Geology)


There was no ice cap on the North Pole and the South Pole at the time of mass extinction is calculated by the oxygen isotope ratio, the Delta 18 oxygen which shows a 12° Celsius increase in 60,000 years.

In comparison to the recent world, it shows that the recent world is facing a much higher increasing rate of the temperature of up to 0.02 degrees Celsius per year whereas the Permian extinction has a temperature rising rate of 0.0002 degrees Celsius per year. So the recent world is getting hotter every year much faster than the previous Extinction event.


Permian mass extinction globally impacted all of the earth.

There was diverse dominant animal on land and as lystasaurus and dimetrodon, reptiles like an animal in the Permian period, and other amphibians on land were the dominant animals. In the ocean, the  Permian period is dominated by brachiopods and ammonoids.


What are the actual causes of the Permian mass extinction?

Pulse volcanic eruption

Credit: Pulsed volcanic combustion events coincident with the end-Permian terrestrial disturbance and the following global crisis. Authors: Kunio Kaiho


Causes of Permian Mass extinction


Causes of Permian Mass extinction; Credit: (


That is still a debate on the Permian mass extinction event so far the most accepted hypothesis is the Siberian trapped volcanism that causes the Permian mass extinction.

The Siberian volcanism emits sulfur dioxide and causes acidic rain which is responsible for the devastation of plant life on land.

The driving mechanism for the Permian mass extinction is the volcanic eruption from Siberia which causes them to increase the emission of sulfur dioxide that’s how sulfur dioxide reacts with water to form sulfuric acid and falls as an acid rain causes plant death and the food chain collapse ultimately the terrestrial mass extinction occurred which increases the plant death The soil erosion event which causes the increased nutrient supply to the sea resulting in the algal bloom in the ocean which takes the dissolved oxygen from the ocean water than the ocean water has lack of oxygen which cause the Suffocation of fish and other marine animals which is ultimately the cause of the Marine mass extinction.

On the other hand, thermogenic gas emissions like carbon dioxide methane, or other gases cause global warming and in the ocean, it causes anoxia which ultimately causes marine mass extinction.


The Siberian trap eruption continues for at least 1 million years but the duration of the Permian Extinction is 61,000 years. The Siberian trap eruption occurred and it makes the geologic unique features called the stratified accumulating lava beds every year. The huge amount of magma that erupted from the core caused mass extinction.

the recent events of magma eruption comparison with the Permian eruption we can discuss magma eruption by the mid-oceanic ridge which erupts 1.4 cubic kilometers per year and another is in 1978 to 1784 years ago the lucky eruption of lava flood which has 14.7 Km3 per year whereas 2 to 5 km3  per year is the Permian eruption by the Siberian trap eruption which is still less amount to cause Permian mass extinction?

If so, then what is the main cause of the Permian mass extinction?


 What really makes happen the Permian mass Extinction?


In the Siberian trap, volcanism comes with a 3 km thick coal bed below the volcanic plume of eruption. the magma mixed with the coal-bearing formation and erupt which causes the Permian mass extinction.

the magma and coal mixing lava eruption causes the expansion of carbon shoot particles in the outer atmosphere which makes the sunlight block for one to three years. it makes the world cool.  The environment then gradually increases in temperature and causes global warming.


Siberian trap eruption occurred associated with the coal-bearing cool bed of 3 km thick causing the magma eruption to mix with coal which is the reason for the Permian mass extinction.

In the Permian mass extinction, the magma with coal mixture erupted the high altitude making the carbon black particle in the upper atmosphere which causes the sunlight blocking then mix to cool for 3 years period followed by global warming.

The findings are published in many reported journals.


The actual causes of the Permian mass extinction are still in debate.

Some scientist says the Siberian trap eruption continues for 1 million years during that from space a gigantic asteroid hits the planet and causes mass extinction.

The Siberian trap eruption might be the acceptable hypothesis for the Permian mass extinction event.

To identify the actual cause of the Permian mass extinction researchers can use biomarkers.

Biomarkers are the fossils derived from the lipid of organisms then decomposed in the rocks and converted to a stable compound called the biomarker.

A biomarker is a very effective tool for the identification of paleoenvironments of the past.

There are many types of biomarkers that are very important to know the past environment. one of the most popular biomarkers are pristine, phytane and sterane, hopane. and coronen to identify the Permian Triassic mass extinction research.





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