Document Type


Publication Date



The transition from the middle to late Permian (Guadalupian–Lopingian) is claimed to record one or more extinction events that rival the ‘Big Five’ in terms of depletion of biological diversity and reorganization of ecosystem structure. Yet many questions remain as to whether the events recorded in separate regions were synchronous, causally related, or were of a magnitude rivaling other major crises in Earth's history. In this paper, we survey some major unresolved issues related to the Guadalupian–Lopingian transition and offer a multidisciplinary approach to advance understanding of this under-appreciated biotic crisis by utilizing records in Southern Hemisphere high-palaeolatitude settings. We focus on the Bowen-Gunnedah-Sydney Basin System (BGSBS) as a prime site for analyses of biotic and physical environmental change at high palaeolatitudes in the middle and terminal Capitanian. Preliminary data suggest the likely position of the mid-Capitanian event is recorded in regressive deposits at the base of the Tomago Coal Measures (northern Sydney Basin) and around the contact between the Broughton Formation and the disconformably overlying Pheasants Nest Formation (southern Sydney Basin). Initial data suggest that the end-Capitanian event roughly correlates to the transgressive “Kulnura Marine Tongue” in the middle of the Tomago Coal Measures (northern Sydney Basin) and strata bearing dispersed, ice-rafted gravel in the Erins Vale Formation (southern Sydney Basin). Preliminary observations suggest that few plant genera or species disappeared in the transition from the Guadalupian to Lopingian, and the latter interval saw an increase in floristic diversity.