The Siberian Traps large igneous province (STLIP) is commonly invoked as the primary driver of global environmental changes that triggered the end-Permian mass extinction (EPME). Here, we explore the contributions of coeval felsic volcanism to end-Permian environmental changes. We report evidence of extreme Cu enrichment in the EPME interval in South China. The enrichment is associated with an increase in the light Cu isotope, melt inclusions rich in copper and sulfides, and Hg concentration spikes. The Cu and Hg elemental and isotopic signatures can be linked to S-rich vapor produced by felsic volcanism. We use these previously unknown geochemical data to estimate volcanic SO2 injections and argue that this volcanism would have produced several degrees of rapid cooling before or coincident with the more protracted global warming. Large-scale eruptions near the South China block synchronous with the EPME strengthen the case that the STLIP may not have been the sole trigger.
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