About a third of all meteorites that fall on Earth today, the stony L-chondrites, originate from a major breakup event in the asteroid belt 466 Ma, in the early Darriwilian. This is the largest asteroid breakup in the past three billion years documented by K-Ar gas-retention ages of recently fallen meteorites. There has been a debate whether the breakup had any effects on Earth’s biota. Based mainly on brachiopod data from western Russia, some authors have argued for the existence of a major biodiversity ‘event’ at approximately the time of the L-chondrite breakup. An analysis of the distribution of three fossil groups (conodonts, ostracods and trilobites) across the late Dapingian and early Darriwilian in three sections in southern Sweden shows no evidence of any biodiversity event. The only biotic changes outside a normal trend are those related to a sea-level fall following the arrival of large amounts of dust from the asteroid breakup. We conclude that the Great Ordovician Biodiversification Event represents a sequence of changes over about 20 Myr, coinciding with an asteroid shower from the breakup of the L-chondrite parent body.
Subject classification (UKÄ)
- Geosciences, Multidisciplinary
- impact craters
- sea-level fall