(ORDO NEWS) — Chinese researchers have found that the global diffusion and settling of sulfate aerosols generated by large volcanic eruptions was an important factor in the land extinction at the end of the Permian period about 250 million years ago, Xinhua news agency reported.
The largest mass extinction in the ancient period was marked by the disappearance of more than 90% of marine species and more than 70% of terrestrial species.
According to a research article recently published in the journal Earth and Planetary Science Letters, it is believed that throughout the history of the Earth, large volcanic eruptions emitting sulfur-containing gases have had a strong impact on the global climate and ecosystems.
Sulfur release from the Siberian Traps Large Igneous Province, a type of large igneous rock that formed rapidly over a relatively short geological period, is thought to have catalyzed the ecological catastrophe associated with extinctions at the end of the Permian.
Researchers at the University of Science and Technology of China reported the sulfur isotopic composition of pyrite from the Sydney Basin in Australia, where they found a sharp decline in sulfur isotopes, coinciding with the stratigraphic extinction level of the earth.
Negative values of sulfur isotopes in the extinction interval have provided new evidence of a significant increase in atmospheric sulfate concentrations associated with the fallout of sulfate aerosols from eruptions in the Siberian traps.
Research evidence suggests that sulfuric acid rain and ozone depletion may have significantly degraded the global environment, leading to extinction on earth at the end of the Permian.
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