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Volcanic Eruption Caused Ancient Mass Extinction


Mondy

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Posted
  • Location: Larbert
  • Location: Larbert

    Kinda puts AGW on the backfoot, I'd have thought?

    The eruptions, which spewed about 500,000 cubic kilometers (120,000 cubic miles) of lava over half a million years, killed more than half of the life on the planet in the Middle Permian period
    The eruptions in southwest China’s Emeishan province, which left deposits of lava 200 meters (656 feet) deep in some spots, were discovered about a decade ago and Wignal and colleagues were the first to study them
    After the eruptions, it took another 500,000 years for life to return to the same level as before

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    Guest Shetland Coastie

    HI DXR

    Dr.Erik Klemetti (a geologist) has this to say about the report:

    "There has been a lot of press lately on the theory that a large eruption from an ancient volcanic field in China (the 260-million-year-old Emeishan volcanic province of southwest China) could be the culprit in the grand Permian extinction. I have to admit, I've only skimmed the surface of this study, but the work lead by Dr. Paul Wignall (a paleontologist, not a volcanologist - not that there is anything wrong with that) seems to center around the amount of sulfur dioxide released in this 500,000 km3 basaltic eruption. Now some of the articles seem to be a bit confused about the science, such as attributing the sulfur dioxide to lava flows interacting with water, I think based on a comment by Dr. Wignall that a lot of steam might be produced as lava interacts with water. Of course, we can already discount the coverage in the UK venerable Sun, who titled their article on the study "Eruption was a hel-lava blast" - with an accompanying picture of a random, unrelated volcano (and the link to this on my RSS feed was called "Eruption nearly wiped out planet" ... ah, the Sun!) Really, I think the big news in this study was the ability to precisely date the eruption relative to the extinction using radiometric data and fossil stratigraphy - however, I'm not sure if the "correlation = causation" has been fully justified yet. "

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