Massive volcanic eruptions wiped out life on sea, landJanuary 24th, 2011 - 5:59 pm ICT by IANS
Toronto, Jan 24 (IANS) Massive volcanic eruptions that produced ash clouds wiped out nearly 95 percent of life on sea and 70 percent on land.
“This could literally be the smoking gun that explains the latest Permian extinction,” says Steve Grasby, adjunct professor in geoscience at University of Calgary, the journal Nature Geoscience reports.
“Our research is the first to show direct evidence that massive volcanic eruptions - the largest the world has ever witnessed - caused massive coal combustion, thus supporting models for significant generation of greenhouse gases at this time,” says Grasby who led the study.
Grasby and colleagues discovered layers of coal ash in rocks from the extinction boundary in Canada’s High Arctic that give the first direct proof to support this, according to a Calgary statement.
Unlike end of dinosaurs, 65 million years ago, where there is widespread belief that the impact of a meteorite was at least the partial cause, it is unclear what caused the late Permian extinction.
Previous researchers have suggested massive volcanic eruptions through coal beds in Siberia would generate significant greenhouse gases causing runaway global warming.
At the time of the extinction, the Earth contained one big land mass, a supercontinent known as Pangaea.
The environment ranged from desert to lush forest. Four-limbed vertebrates were becoming more diverse and among them were primitive amphibians, early reptiles and synapsids - the group that would, one day, include mammals.
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- Ancient global warming turned earth an inferno - Nov 18, 2011
- Global extinction was not a sudden event - Feb 05, 2012
- 250-bn-yr-old Siberian volcanism 'may have caused The Great Dying' - Oct 29, 2010
- Volcanic eruptions triggered mass extinctions, climate change - Jun 05, 2009
- Earth will take 100,000 years 'to recuperate from global warming' - Nov 02, 2010
- Carbon dioxide finding on Mars hints at ancient life - Oct 12, 2010
- Earth's birth: Inert gases provide clues - Sep 27, 2011
- Fossils of Mating Turtles Found in Germany - Jun 20, 2012
- Fiery mountains of coal may have caused mass extinction 250 mln yrs ago - Nov 06, 2009
- Fossil haul shows life's recovery after near-extinction - Dec 23, 2010
- Meteorite hits mimic large volcanic eruptions - Oct 19, 2011
- Venus' hot atmosphere may cool down its interior - Sep 21, 2010
- Marine life faces large-scale extinction risk - Aug 22, 2012
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