IGCP 668: An Overview
Scientific Mission/Project Abstract
Scientific studies of ancient changes in Earth’s physical environment and biota demonstrate the relevance of Earth’s past for our planet’s future. An important ancient interval of transition occurred in the later Cambrian and early Ordovician, some 500 to 450 million years ago. It included change from repeated intervals of evolutionary “boom and bust” (rapid evolutionary radiation followed by dramatic collapse of diversity) in Cambrian shallow seas into a more stable and enduring biota in the Ordovician and thereafter. This change was linked to a late Cambrian peak and early Ordovician decline in global explosive volcanism that is recorded in particular detail in the equatorial Gondwanan terrane of Sibumasu: Thailand, Myanmar, Malaysia, and Baoshan, China. In these areas fossils are repeatedly interbedded with datable volcanic ashes. Global volcanism may also have resulted in rapid changes in atmospheric CO2, and in widespread marine anoxia. The relationship between such environmental stresses and faunal turnover has societal significance today, but our ability to learn from this instructive episode is hindered by our ability to determine the precise timing of these events and thus link cause and effect. The project will coordinate international effort to realize the research and educational potential of the Sibumasu record in its equatorial Gondwanan and global context.
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As we conduct field work in rural areas of Southeast Asia, we work with local villages through fossil collecting and storytelling to educate people on natural history and geologic processes.
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We are an ever-growing, international collaboration of researchers. If you are working on similar or related aims and would like to become a research partner, fill out an interest card on the collaborators page.
The 2021 meeting, (16-19 July 2021), will hosted online by Japan's University of Tsukuba. The purpose of this meeting is to discuss recent progress in the fields of Cambrian and Ordovician geology, geochronology, petrology, and palaeontology and to hold workshops focused on databases and collection management/sharing. It is hoped the meeting will both encourage global research cooperation and stimulate young workers.
The second circular is now available.