We know more about the most catastrophic extinction in history

We know more about the most catastrophic extinction in history

Almost 252 million years ago, the most massive extinction in history (of the five that occurred) took place. Now we know something more about her.

James Muirhead , a research associate in the Department of Earth Sciences at Syracuse University, is the co-author of a paper in Nature Communication s that explains how a specific type of igneous rock was formed as evidence of how it took place. extinction.

Igneous rocks

According to the aforementioned study, the formation of intrusive igneous rocks, known as ‘sills’ (ledges), led the Earth to the end of the Permian geological period, causing the extinction of more than 95 percent of marine species and 70 percent of terrestrial species. The trigger was the extreme heat given off during the formation of the sills, thus releasing the massive volumes of greenhouse gases necessary to drive the extinction .

There are two ways that magma forms igneous rock . One way is extrusion, in which magma erupts through volcanic craters and cracks in the Earth’s surface; the other is intrusion, whereby magma is forced between or without existing rock formations, without reaching the surface. Common types of intrusion are sills, dikes, and batholiths.

There have been five major mass extinctions, since life originated on Earth more than 600 million years ago. Most of these events have been attributed, at various times, to volcanic eruptions and asteroid impacts. By reexamining the timing and connection between magmatism, climate change, and extinction, we have created a model that explains what triggered the late Permian mass extinction.