Permian Volcanic Extinction

200,000 years of massive volcaniceruptions that were unending that also burned off huge amounts of coal assuresus of one thing.  The atmosphere became saturatedwith sulphur compounds that made biological survival pretty difficult.  Because all this is atmospheric, there isliterally no place to properly hide. Coal would have contributed strongly to those conditions.

We can assume that all this madethe ocean acidic and this brought on the massive Permian marine extinction.

It is a grim warning about thereal destructive power of a major volcano such as Hekla in Iceland, whichhalted the European growing season for two decades after the major eruption of1159 BCE.  It is the reason why I like towatch what is going on in Icelandand Alaska.  These are the two places that can wreak our civilizationin ways we do not imagine.

A volcano field the size of Europe effectively erupting at one point or the otheryear after year produces a massive collapse in the Hemisphere involved andsharply increases the noxious gas content which does most of the killing.

Erupting volcanoes, burning coal probably caused Earth's first majorextinction

By Bill Graveland, The Canadian Press | The CanadianPress – Sun, 23 Jan 1:07 PM EST
Thu, 30 Dec 10:54 AM EST

CALGARY - University researchers aresuggesting that massive volcanic eruptions led to Earth's first environmentaldisaster — 190 million years before the demise of the dinosaur.

Up to 95 per cent of all marine species and 70 per cent of landvertebrates became extinct during this Permian-Triassic period. The Great Dyingalso caused the only known mass extinction of insects.

University of Calgary team that worked in Canada's High Arctic believes it found evidencethat volcanoes in Siberia burnedthrough coal, which in turn produced ash clouds that damaged global oceans.

"We found layers of coal ash ... providing the first directevidence that there was a significant coal combustion going on at the time ofextinction," said Steve Grasby from the university's department ofgeoscience.

Grasby is also a research scientist at Natural Resources Canada.

It's widely believed that dinosaurs met their end 65 million years agowhen a meteorite hit the Earth, but the reason for the Permian extinction hadbeen less clear.

"This could literally be the smoking gun," said Grasby.

The impact of the volcanic eruption was so severe that it eliminatedall "higher life" over a period of 200,000 years, he said, and itwould take another five million years for those life forms to reappear.

The volcanoes covered an area just less than the size of Europe. The ash plumes drifted to regions now in Canada’s Arcticwhere the researchers found the coal-ash layers.

"We saw layers with abundant organic matter ... exactly like thatproduced by modern coal-burning power plants," said Benoit Beauchamp, alsowith the university's geoscience department.

Grasby said the Earth at the time was one big land mass and was similarto the planet we know today. Environments ranged from desert to lush forestsand included primitive amphibians, reptiles and a group that would eventuallyinclude mammals
The university team's research article is being published in themagazine Nature Geoscience today.

Grasby said geological events as recent as last spring have given theworld a taste of the disruption volcanoes can trigger.

"Large eruptions can cause some global atmospheric effects, justlike the Icelandic volcano shutting down air travel," he said.

"But this was on a scale far beyond that. It was one of thelargest in Earth history."

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