(ORDO NEWS) — The common story that the dinosaurs died out after an asteroid hit the Earth may turn out to be false. The cause of the mass extinction could be the eruption of volcanoes.
During the 66 million years of the planet’s existence, there have been several mass extinctions. Scientists adhere to two versions about terrible events in the past: meteorites and volcanoes.
A new Dartmouth-led study suggests that the meteorite version was unlikely. A more realistic scenario with frequent volcanic eruptions. There is convincing evidence of this.
Seismic activity was much stronger then than it is now. The earth was regularly shaken by earthquakes, volcanoes erupted at the bottom of the ocean and on land ten times more often.
Scientists managed to create a model of the planet on which the largest eruptions were reproduced. Then they were compared to mass extinctions of dinosaurs. Detailed analysis showed that basalt floods and mass extinctions coincided in time.
Basalt floods are a type of volcanic eruption. They are so abundant that they can flood huge areas with lava, even entire continents. There is virtually no chance of survival during such eruptions.
Such eruptions leave behind a trail that scientists call “large eruptive provinces.” They were found in different parts of the globe.
Next, scientists compared when large asteroids fell to the earth and periods of extinction. Not a single case coincided.
The new data could be a wake-up call in the future. The fact is that now the rate of emissions of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere is almost the same as it was during flood basalts. This can cause a new mass extinction of all living things.
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