Deep Dust

Probing Continental Climate of the Late Paleozoic Icehouse-Greenhouse Transition

The tectonic, climatic, and biotic events of the Permian are amongst the most profound in Earth history. Global orogeny leading to Pangaean assembly culminated by middle Permian time, and included multiple orogenic belts in the equatorial Central Pangaean Mountains, from the Variscan-Hercynian system (east) to the Ancestral Rocky  Mountains (west). Earth’s penultimate global icehouse peaked in early Permian time, transitioning to full greenhouse conditions by late Permian time, archiving our only example of icehouse collapse while the Earth had an expansive terrestrial biosphere. Extreme environments are well documented in the form of, e.g., voluminous dust deposits, acid lakes, extreme continental temperatures, and major extinctions/extirpations, ultimately culminating at the Permo-Triassic boundary with the largest extinction of Earth history.

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