Dinosaurs doomed by animal magmatism from space
Dino-killing meteorite triggered huge volcanic burst from the ocean floor, new research suggests
A worldwide pulse of magma erupting through the seabed helped to kill off the dinosaurs 66 million years ago, research has suggested.
A fresh examination of sea-floor crust data reveals that the seismic waves triggered by the infamous Chicxulub meteorite led to a global surge of marine volcanic activity, which played a far greater role in the late Cretaceous extinctions than previously thought.Up to now the mass extinctions have been mainly blamed on the meteorite and its aftermath, as well as on intense volcanic activity in an area of modern-day India, the Deccan Traps. But the new study indicates the shockwaves gave rise to activity across the planet of the type that caused catastrophic disturbances to Earth’s atmosphere.
“Our work suggests a connection between these exceedingly rare and catastrophic events, distributed over the entire planet,” said Professor Leif Karlstrom of the University of Oregon, who led the research.
“The impact may have influenced volcanic eruptions already going on, making for a one-two punch.”Researchers divided the sea-floor geological data into one-million-year old groupings, building a record back to 100 million years ago.
At about 66 million years, they found evidence for a “short-lived pulse of marine magmatism” along ancient ocean ridges. This pulse was suggested by a spike in the rate of the occurrence of free-air gravity anomalies seen in the data set.
The study is published in the journal Science Advances.
- © The Daily Telegraph