The extinction of the dinosaurs remains a fascinating mystery to this day. While this was by no means the largest extinction known, it was the most creative. And also because after the extinction of dinosaurs, many of which reached impressive sizes, mammals came to power – including humans. This happened about 66 million years ago.
The ancient borders of the era of dinosaurs were moved at least a million years ago – from 65 to 66 million years ago. Now he is here A line formerly called the KT line (Cretaceous-Tertiary), and today – due to the change in nomenclature from the Tertiary to the Paleogene – it is referred to as K-Pg line. It is often called the “hard bottom”. Then the meteorite struck, but it did not immediately lead to the extinction of dinosaurs and their relatives. Moreover, it turns out he probably didn’t do it at all.
The latest research suggests that a strong impact from space contributed to the extinction of life on the K-Pg line, but it was not the only factor. Another, but equally important, comet is responsible for the Great Cretaceous Extinction. While traces of a celestial body collision should be sought near the town of Chicxulub in Mexico, where a crater is clearly visible on the shores of Yucatan after this disaster, the second culprit of destruction was in India.
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We’re talking about massive volcanic activityWhich took place at that time in the Deccan region, i.e. the region of India today. This piece at the end of the Cretaceous was not part of Asia or any other continent, but a separate landmass. Moreover, the impact of this huge island, which was India in the Mesozoic Era, on the rest of the continent at the end of the Alps (after the extinction of the dinosaurs) led to The height of the highest mountains in the world, the Himalayas. Their length shows how powerful and intense the process is.
At the end of the Mesozoic, India was the most seismically and volcanically active place in the world. This is evidenced by the so-called The Deccan Traps, which are layers of volcanic rock and lava sheets that make up the highlands of the Indian peninsula. They are traces of a huge flow of magma that could have covered an area of more than one million square kilometers. That’s three times the size of present-day Poland, so it’s clear how big eruptions and volcanic activity we were dealing with at the time.
Naturally, this had an impact on the environment and life on Earth. The question remains to assess the extent of this effect.
Back in 2020, research was published suggesting that the clearly visible activity of Indian volcanoes had little impact on the end of life on Earth in its Mesozoic form. But now this perspective is starting to change.
“Research findings in recent years make it difficult to ignore the role of volcanoes in the extinction of Mesozoic species,” says Brenhen Keller of the University of Dartmouth. The justification is research conducted in India and Siberia, which indicates the intensity of emissions of harmful gases, including carbon dioxide, into the atmosphere during volcanic eruptions at the end of the Cretaceous period. They compared the effects left by Cretaceous eruptions with those that led to the largest species extinction in Earth’s history. Permian extinction event.
It turns out that the convergence is significant and that the post-volcanic gas emission occurred 66 million years ago It led to 90 percent extinction. Living close to Deccan It contributed significantly to the inevitable process of climate change in the Mesozoic world. The effects must have been far-reaching and greater than we realize. About a billion tons of sulfur alone were released into the atmosphere.
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The results, published in the September 29 issue of the journal Science, show huge amounts of gases emitted from gas-filled lava during eruptions in western India and… They even hypothesize that they, and not the meteor impact in Yucatan, could have been the main driving force of the extinction..
The study focused in particular on carbon dioxide and sulfur dioxide that are released during volcanic eruptions, as these gases are known for their role in climate change and ocean acidification. These events may have lasted approximately one million years. It began about 300,000 years before the collision from space, and continued for a long time after it – at least 500,000 years. This means that these processes had a longer and perhaps more lasting effect on extinction. It was almost Million years of systematically polluting the atmosphere with toxic gases.
The scientists relied on data from 67-65 million year old sediments collected from the depths of the ocean. It contained fossilized foraminifera, which are microscopic organisms that live in the oceans. Their shells stored information about ocean conditions, global temperatures, and the carbon cycle. Computer simulations performed on its basis showed that temperature changes at the end of the Mesozoic caused volcanic emissions. They played a major role in changing the carbon cycle in the natural world there. This calls into question the role of the asteroid or meteorite in the extinction of the dinosaurs.
Therefore, there is much evidence that the impact of a celestial body in the state of Yucatan had devastating consequences and killed many living creatures, but The combination of this disaster and the eruption of Indian volcanoes contributed to the destruction of all life. These harmful changes in the environment killed off dinosaurs, plesiosaurs, ichthyosaurs, pterosaurs and other animals that survived the effects of the collision and nuclear winter.
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