The fungal and acritarch events as time markers for the latest Permian mass extinction: An update

Michael R. Rampino, Yoram Eshet

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The latest Permian extinction (252 Myr ago) was the most severe in the geologic record. On land, widespread Late Permian gymnosperm/seed-fern dominated forests appear to have suffered rapid and almost complete destruction, as evidenced by increased soil erosion and changes in fluvial style in deforested areas, signs of wildfires, replacement of trees by lower plants, and almost complete loss of peat-forming and fire-susceptible vegetation. Permian–Triassic boundary strata at many sites show two widespread palynological events in the wake of the forest destruction: The fungal event, evidenced by a thin zone with >95% fungal cells (Reduviasporonites) and woody debris, found in terrestrial and marine sediments, and the acritarch event, marked by the sudden flood of unusual phytoplankton in the marine realm. These two events represent the global temporary explosive spread of stress-tolerant and opportunistic organisms on land and in the sea just after the latest Permian disaster. They represent unique events, and thus they can provide a time marker in correlating latest Permian marine and terrestrial sequences.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)147-154
Number of pages8
JournalGeoscience Frontiers
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 China University of Geosciences (Beijing) and Peking University


  • Acritarch event
  • Fungal event
  • Permian–Triassic boundary


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