Testing the terrestrial δ13C Cretaceous-Paleogene (K-Pg) chemostratigraphic marker

Document Type


Date of Original Version



Multiple >1‰ δ13C isotopic excursions measured across the Cretaceous-Paleogene (K-Pg) boundary in an iridium-bearing stratigraphic section from Mud Buttes, North Dakota, USA, fail to demonstrate an unambiguous chemostratigraphic signal for the extinction. Results of two-sample Kolmogorov-Smirnov tests using δ13C records for the Mud Buttes section as well as five other published K-Pg sections from Montana, North Dakota, Wyoming, and Canada - all of which report a -1.0‰ to -2.8‰ chemostratigraphic marker at or just above the extinction - demonstrate that it may not be possible to distinguish a statistically meaningful isotopic shift to lower δ13C values at the boundary in the context of background variations. Carbon isotopes as terrestrial chemostratigraphic markers of the K-Pg extinction boundary are thus of limited utility. © 2013 Elsevier B.V.

Publication Title, e.g., Journal

Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology