Extinction of the Dinosaurs -New Research May Have Solved One of the World’s Biggest Mysteries
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October 31, 2007

Extinction of the Dinosaurs -New Research May Have Solved One of the World’s Biggest Mysteries

Deccan_traps_2_2 Apparently, even killing dinosaurs was a job outsourced to India. New research suggests that a series of monumental volcanic eruptions in India may have killed off the dinosaurs 65 million years ago. Previously it was believed that the likely suspect was a meteor impact in the Gulf of Mexico. However, the volcanic eruptions in India, which created the gigantic Deccan Traps lava beds, are now the prime suspect in the most famous and persistent paleontological murder mystery. Scientists have recently conducted several new investigations and were able to hone in on the eruptions timing.

"It's the first time we can directly link the main phase of the Deccan Traps to the mass extinction," said Princeton University paleontologist Gerta Keller. The main phase of the Deccan eruptions spewed 80 percent of the lava and covered hundreds of miles. It is calculated to have released ten times more climate altering gases into the atmosphere than the nearly concurrent Chicxulub meteor impact, according to volcanologist Vincent Courtillot from the Physique du Globe de Paris. In other words, Chicxulub was a space whimp that didn’t have anything on chaos wrecked by the Deccan volcanoes.

Keller's crucial link between the eruption and the mass extinction comes in the form of microscopic marine fossils that are known to have evolved immediately after the mysterious mass extinction event. The same telltale fossilized planktonic foraminifera were found at Rajahmundry near the Bay of Bengal, about 1000 kilometers from the center of the Deccan Traps near Mumbai. At Rajahmundry there are two lava "traps" containing four layers of lava each. Between the traps are about nine meters of marine sediments. Those sediments just above the lower trap, which was the mammoth main phase, contain the incriminating microfossils.

Previous work had first narrowed the Deccan eruption timing to within 800,000 years of the extinction event using paleomagnetic signatures of Earth's changing magnetic field frozen in minerals that crystallized from the cooling lava. Then radiometric dating of argon and potassium isotopes in minerals narrowed the age to within 300,000 years of the 65-million-year-old Cretaceous-Tertiary (a.k.a. Cretaceous-Paleogene) boundary, sometimes called the K-T boundary.

The microfossils are far more specific, however, because they demonstrate directly that the biggest phase of the eruption ended right when the aftermath of the mass extinction event began. That sort of clear-cut timing has been a lot tougher to pin down with Chicxulub-related sediments, which predate the mass extinction.

"Our results are consistent and mutually supportive with a number of new studies, including Chenet, Courtillot and others (in press) and Jay and Widdowson (in press), that reveal a very short time for the main Deccan eruptions at or near the K-T boundary and the massive carbon dioxide and sulfur dioxide output of each major eruption that dwarfs the output of Chicxulub," explained Keller. "Our K-T age control combined with these results strongly points to Deccan volcanism as the likely leading contender in the K-T mass extinction." Keller's study was funded by the National Science Foundation.

The Deccan Traps also provide an answer to a question on which Chicxulub was silent: Why did it take about 300,000 years for marine species to recover from the extinction event? The solution is in the upper, later Deccan Traps eruptions.

"It's been an enigma," Keller said. "The very last one was Early Danian, 280,000 years after the mass extinction, which coincides with the delayed recovery."

Very suspicious, indeed.

Posted by Rebecca Sato

* This post was adapted from the news release issued by the Geological Society of America.

Related posts:

The Planet's 6th Great Mass Extinction is Occurring as You Read This -A Galaxy Insight
The Shiva Impact & Extinction of the Dinosaurs
Coming of Age in the Holocene
A Future K/T Impact -Would the Human Species Survive?

Past as Prelude -Asteroids & the Origins of Life
"The Great Extinction" & Rise of Modern Species
Dr Strangelove Two? -Cambridge Astrophysicist Gives Earthlings a 50/50 Chance of Making it Through the Century
New 4-Story Tall Prehistoric Species Discovered: One of World’s Largest Dinosaurs

Dinosaur Mass Grave Unearthed in Switzerland

Links:
http://www.geosociety.org/news/pr/07-59.htm
http://gsa.confex.com/gsa/2007AM/finalprogram/abstract_128505.htm

Comments

The article does not Highlight a fact that the extinction of the dinosaurs took place over a period of more or less ten thousand years. So if we consider the time span, is it still an extinction or a simple manifestation of the evolution at work?

Why can't it be a combination? The Shiva impact, along with lesser impacts at the same time, weakening the crust, releasing dust and debris into the atmosphere and the Deccan plateau volcanic eruptions putting the final touches. Climate changes, at first gradually, then at an accelerated rate. Selection pressures to keep up with what ever changes the climate change brought about might then be too great and, Poof!, no more global Jurassic Park. Ten thousand years isn't that long on the evolutionary or geological timescale, especially in comparison to the eras and species we're talking about.

I urge everyone to keep an open ming and read this most intriguing theory http://www.brojon.org/frontpage/WHAT_REALLY_KILLED_THE_DINOSAURS.html Please make serious comments on the article.

can you belive if there is any climatic change a lizard can also become dinosaurs

can you belive if there is any climatic change a lizard can also become dinosaurs

You made some good points, i enjoyed the read. Also the link Jonas posted is worth reading! http://ddlfrog.com

badddddddddd thinggggss that you are putting here.
Are you crazy guys . lazy socity we are living in .

Its interesting. I would like to know more about this…I really wanted to know how this works can you please help me out…….Thanks for sharing.


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