(ORDO NEWS) — An international team of researchers concluded that the Triassic-Jurassic extinction was triggered by volcanoes. Because of this, the level of acidity and hydrogen sulfide rose in the ocean, which adversely affected all marine organisms.
The Triassic-Jurassic extinction marks the boundary between the Triassic and Jurassic periods 201.3 million years ago. It is considered the largest extinction of the Mesozoic era.
Then a whole class of conodonts, which constituted 20 percent of all marine families, disappeared from the face of the Earth, the most common crurotarsi (non-dinosaur-like archosaurs), some therapsids (synapsids, which include mammals and their extinct relatives) and many species of amphibians , died out.
The Triassic extinction was quite fast: it happened in less than 10 thousand years and happened just before the collapse of Pangea.
There are many hypotheses about the causes of extinction. One of them is climate change and the deviation of the level of the World Ocean. Others – the fall of the asteroid and massive volcanic eruptions.
Each of them has both advantages and disadvantages. Scientists from the Universities of Curtin (Australia), Southampton (UK), Columbia and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (USA) are leaning towards the “volcanic” version. They managed to find out additional aspects related to this hypothesis.
The authors of the work, published in the journal Geology , studied microscopic fossils from rocks from the Bristol Canal Basin in southwestern Britain. As a result, they identified two mechanisms that may be responsible for the mass extinction.
Due to the eruptions of underwater volcanoes, the waters of the oceans, according to the researchers, became more acidic, which suppressed the growth of all marine life that use calcium carbonate to create shells and other parts of their body.
In addition, during this period, according to the findings of scientists, the level of hydrogen sulfide in the ocean increased, which was extremely toxic to all marine life. The experience of the Triassic extinction , scientists say, can tell a lot about the current state of the environment and more clearly understand the consequences of global warming.
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