Volcanism and carbon cycle perturbations in the High Arctic during the Late Jurassic – Early Cretaceous

Madeleine L. Vickers, Mads E. Jelby, Kasia K. Śliwińska, Lawrence M.E. Percival, Feiyue Wang, Hamed Sanei, Gregory D. Price, Clemens V. Ullmann, Stephen E. Grasby, Lutz Reinhardt, Tamsin A. Mather, Joost Frieling, Christoph Korte, Rhodri M. Jerrett, Morgan T. Jones, Ivar Midtkandal, Jennifer M. Galloway

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Large perturbations in the global carbon cycle recorded as carbon-isotope (δ13C) excursions (CIEs) in both organic carbon and carbonate records have been linked to volcanism during the emplacement of Large Igneous Provinces (LIPs). This link is based primarily on the purported temporal coincidence between CIEs and LIP emplacement. Mercury (Hg) concentration in sedimentary rocks has been used as a regional to global tracer of large-scale volcanic activity, yet few studies have been undertaken on Upper Jurassic – Lower Cretaceous sediments from Boreal localities compared to those for Tethyan (northern mid-latitude) successions. This has limited our understanding of the regional-to-global spatial impact of volcanic activity during this period. This study examines the Hg record as a proxy for volcanism, and the δ13C records from organic matter (δ13Corg) of CIEs from the uppermost Jurassic to Lower Cretaceous (Callovian – Aptian) successions from Axel Heiberg and Spitsbergen in the Canadian Arctic and Svalbard archipelagos, respectively. This interval includes three regional- to global CIEs. These sections show no significant variation in the ratio of Hg to total organic carbon (TOC) across the Boreal-wide Volgian negative CIE (Volgian Isotopic Carbon Excursion, “VOICE”), which has not been associated with LIP volcanism. The examined successions spanning this interval all show some influence from changing environmental or post-burial parameters, however, which could have (partially) overprinted a volcanic signal. Despite some problems in stratigraphically constraining the Weissert Event, increased Hg/TOC ratios are observed across this interval, which may be partially driven by volcanism associated with the emplacement of the Paraná-Etendeka Traps. A spike in Hg/TOC is observed immediately prior to the negative peak of the Aptian Oceanic Anoxic Event (OAE1a) CIE, supporting recent evidence of a pulse of High Arctic Large Igneous Province (HALIP) volcanic activity preceding this oceanic anoxic event.

Original languageEnglish
Article number111412
Number of pages17
JournalPalaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2023


  • CIEs
  • Weissert Event
  • Mercury
  • Ocean Anoxic Event 1a
  • Ontong-Java Plateau

Programme Area

  • Programme Area 5: Nature and Climate


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