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  1. The negative organic carbon isotope excursion (CIE) associated with the end-Triassic mass extinction (ETE) is conventionally interpreted as the result of a massive flux of isotopically light carbon from exogenous sources into the atmosphere (e.g., thermogenic methane and/or methane clathrate dissociation linked to the Central Atlantic Magmatic Province [CAMP]). Instead, we demonstrate that at its type locality in the Bristol Channel Basin (UK), the CIE was caused by a marine to nonmarine transition resulting from an abrupt relative sea level drop. Our biomarker and compound-specific carbon isotopic data show that the emergence of microbial mats, influenced by an influx of fresh to brackish water, provided isotopically light carbon to both organic and inorganic carbon pools in centimeter-scale water depths, leading to the negative CIE. Thus, the iconic CIE and the disappearance of marine biota at the type locality are the result of local environmental change and do not mark either the global extinction event or input of exogenous light carbon into the atmosphere. Instead, the main extinction phase occurs slightly later in marine strata, where it is coeval with terrestrial extinctions and ocean acidification driven by CAMP-induced increases inPco2; these effects should not be conflated with the CIE. An abrupt sea-level fall observed in the Central European basins reflects the tectonic consequences of the initial CAMP emplacement, with broad implications for all extinction events related to large igneous provinces.

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    We report on the effect of the end-Cretaceous impact event on the present-day deep microbial biosphere at the impact site. IODP-ICDP Expedition 364 drilled into the peak ring of the Chicxulub crater, México, allowing us to investigate the microbial communities within this structure. Increased cell biomass was found in the impact suevite, which was deposited within the first few hours of the Cenozoic, demonstrating that the impact produced a new lithological horizon that caused a long-term improvement in deep subsurface colonization potential. In the biologically impoverished granitic rocks, we observed increased cell abundances at impact-induced geological interfaces, that can be attributed to the nutritionally diverse substrates and/or elevated fluid flow. 16S rRNA gene amplicon sequencing revealed taxonomically distinct microbial communities in each crater lithology. These observations show that the impact caused geological deformation that continues to shape the deep subsurface biosphere at Chicxulub in the present day. 
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  4. An asteroid impact in the Yucatán Peninsula set off a sequence of events that led to the Cretaceous–Paleogene (K–Pg) mass extinction of 76% species, including the nonavian dinosaurs. The impact hit a carbonate platform and released sulfate aerosols and dust into Earth’s upper atmosphere, which cooled and darkened the planet—a scenario known as an impact winter. Organic burn markers are observed in K–Pg boundary records globally, but their source is debated. If some were derived from sedimentary carbon, and not solely wildfires, it implies soot from the target rock also contributed to the impact winter. Characteristics of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in the Chicxulub crater sediments and at two deep ocean sites indicate a fossil carbon source that experienced rapid heating, consistent with organic matter ejected during the formation of the crater. Furthermore, PAH size distributions proximal and distal to the crater indicate the ejected carbon was dispersed globally by atmospheric processes. Molecular and charcoal evidence indicates wildfires were also present but more delayed and protracted and likely played a less acute role in biotic extinctions than previously suggested. Based on stratigraphy near the crater, between 7.5 × 1014and 2.5 × 1015g of black carbon was released from the target and ejected into the atmosphere, where it circulated the globe within a few hours. This carbon, together with sulfate aerosols and dust, initiated an impact winter and global darkening that curtailed photosynthesis and is widely considered to have caused the K–Pg mass extinction.

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  5. Abstract The Chicxulub crater was formed by an asteroid impact at ca. 66 Ma. The impact is considered to have contributed to the end-Cretaceous mass extinction and reduced productivity in the world’s oceans due to a transient cessation of photosynthesis. Here, biomarker profiles extracted from crater core material reveal exceptional insights into the post-impact upheaval and rapid recovery of microbial life. In the immediate hours to days after the impact, ocean resurge flooded the crater and a subsequent tsunami delivered debris from the surrounding carbonate ramp. Deposited material, including biomarkers diagnostic for land plants, cyanobacteria, and photosynthetic sulfur bacteria, appears to have been mobilized by wave energy from coastal microbial mats. As that energy subsided, days to months later, blooms of unicellular cyanobacteria were fueled by terrigenous nutrients. Approximately 200 k.y. later, the nutrient supply waned and the basin returned to oligotrophic conditions, as evident from N2-fixing cyanobacteria biomarkers. At 1 m.y. after impact, the abundance of photosynthetic sulfur bacteria supported the development of water-column photic zone euxinia within the crater. 
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  6. Highly expanded Cretaceous–Paleogene (K-Pg) boundary section from the Chicxulub peak ring, recovered by International Ocean Discovery Program (IODP)–International Continental Scientific Drilling Program (ICDP) Expedition 364, provides an unprecedented window into the immediate aftermath of the impact. Site M0077 includes ∼130 m of impact melt rock and suevite deposited the first day of the Cenozoic covered by <1 m of micrite-rich carbonate deposited over subsequent weeks to years. We present an interpreted series of events based on analyses of these drill cores. Within minutes of the impact, centrally uplifted basement rock collapsed outward to form a peak ring capped in melt rock. Within tens of minutes, the peak ring was covered in ∼40 m of brecciated impact melt rock and coarse-grained suevite, including clasts possibly generated by melt–water interactions during ocean resurge. Within an hour, resurge crested the peak ring, depositing a 10-m-thick layer of suevite with increased particle roundness and sorting. Within hours, the full resurge deposit formed through settling and seiches, resulting in an 80-m-thick fining-upward, sorted suevite in the flooded crater. Within a day, the reflected rim-wave tsunami reached the crater, depositing a cross-bedded sand-to-fine gravel layer enriched in polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons overlain by charcoal fragments. Generation of a deep crater open to the ocean allowed rapid flooding and sediment accumulation rates among the highest known in the geologic record. The high-resolution section provides insight into the impact environmental effects, including charcoal as evidence for impact-induced wildfires and a paucity of sulfur-rich evaporites from the target supporting rapid global cooling and darkness as extinction mechanisms. 
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  7. Abstract

    Subsurface microbial communities are generally thought to be structured through in situ environmental conditions such as the availability of electron acceptors and donors and porosity, but recent studies suggest that the vertical distribution of a subset of subseafloor microbial taxa, which were present at the time of deposition, were selected by the paleodepositional environment. However, additional highly resolved temporal records of subsurface microbiomes and paired paleoenvironmental reconstructions are needed to justify this claim. Here, we performed a highly resolved shotgun metagenomics survey to study the taxonomic and functional diversity of the subsurface microbiome in Holocene sediments underlying the permanently stratified and anoxic Black Sea. Obligate aerobic bacteria made the largest contribution to the observed shifts in microbial communities associated with known Holocene climate stages and transitions. This suggests that the aerobic fraction of the subseafloor microbiome was seeded from the water column and did not undergo post‐depositional selection. In contrast, obligate and facultative anaerobic bacteria showed the most significant response to the establishment of modern‐day environmental conditions 5.2 ka ago that led to a major shift in planktonic communities and in the type of sequestered organic matter available for microbial degradation. No significant shift in the subseafloor microbiome was observed as a result of environmental changes that occurred shortly after the marine reconnection, 9 ka ago. This supports the general view that the marine reconnection was a gradual process. We conclude that a high‐resolution analysis of downcore changes in the subseafloor microbiome can provide detailed insights into paleoenvironmental conditions and biogeochemical processes that occurred at the time of deposition.

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