Gröcke D.R., Hori R. S., Trabucho-Alexandre J., Kemp D. B., Schwark L. (2011) An open marine record of the Toarcian oceanic anoxic event // Solid Earth Discuss., Vol.3. P.385–410.
Oceanic anoxic events were time intervals in the Mesozoic characterized by widespread distribution of marine organic-rich sediments (black shales) and signiﬁant perturbations in the global carbon cycle. The expression of these perturbations is 5 globally recorded in sediments as excursions in the carbon isotope record irrespective of lithology or depositional environment. During the Early Toarcian, black shales were deposited on the epi- and peri-continental shelves of Pangaea and these sedimentary rocks are associated with a pronounced (ca. 7‰) negative (organic) carbon isotope excursion (CIE) which is thought to be the result of a major perturbation in the global carbon cycle. For this reason, the Early Toarcian is thought to represent an oceanic anoxic event (the T-OAE). Associated with this event, there were pronounced perturbations in global weathering rates and seawater temperatures. Although it is commonly asserted that the T-OAE is a global event and that the distribution of black shales is likewise global, an isotopic and/or organic-rich expression of this event has as yet only been recognized on epi- and peri-continental Pangaean localities. To address this issue, the carbon isotope composition of organic matter (δ13Corg) of Early Toarcian cherts from Japan that were deposited in the open Panthalassa Ocean was analysed. The results show the presence of a major (>6‰) negative excursion in δ13Corg that, based on radiolarian biostratigraphy, is a correlative of the Early Toarcian negative CIE known 20 from European epicontinental strata. Furthermore, a secondary ca. −2‰ excursion in δ13Corg is also recognized lower in the studied succession that, within the current biostratigraphical resolution, is likely to represent the excursion that occurs close to the Pliensbachian/Toarcian boundary and which is also recorded in European epicontinental successions. These results from the open ocean realm suggest that, in conjunction with other previously published datasets, these major Early Jurassic carbon cycle perturbations aﬀected all active global reservoirs of the exchangeable carbon cycle (deep marine, shallow marine, atmospheric). An extremely negative δ13Corg value (−57‰) during the peak of the T-OAE is also reported, which suggests that the inferred open ocean mid-water oxygen minimum layer within which these sediments are thought to have been deposited was highly enriched in methanotrophic bacteria, since these organisms are the only plausible producers of such C-enriched organic matter.