Researchers from the University of Geneva in conjunction with the University of Zurich have discovered that a mass extinction event 250 mya during the Permian-Triassic Period killed an astounding 95% of marine species and the cause appears to NOT be global warming as previously assumed but a “short” ice age which came BEFORE an increase in global temps.
This study is the first time a mass extinction event like this has been accurately understood in terms of the events various stages. It is also significant that this research was able to note the MAJOR role played in such events by volcanic eruptions. Researchers see this study as paving the way for a “new vision of understanding Earth’s paleo-climate.”
Researchers connected with the study focused on sediment layers in the Nanpanjiang basin in southern China. These sediments are known to be very well preserved. They took cross sections of the sediments and were able to determine the exact positions of ash beds in the ancient marine sediments. They also found a gap in the sediments which corresponded to a time when sea levels decreased and the only explanation for this is that this gap period was a “short” ice age lasting up to 80,000 years! This was enough time to kill of 95% of the marine life researchers believe. Further, they believe global temps dropped drastically due to volcanic eruptions that blasted a lot of material into the upper atmosphere and, thus, cooled the planet and reduced the amount of sunlight from reaching the Earth’s surface. Researchers involved in this study say an intense period of global warming followed which allowed for some recovery of marine life. This period of intense global warming was, however, 500,000 after the Permian-Triassic period! Continue reading