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Posted by on Dec 13, 2012 in Science |

The extinction of the dinosaurs was caused by volcanoes

The extinction of the dinosaurs was caused by volcanoes

For most of my life I have believed that the of the dinosaurs was related to the impact of an asteroid in the Yucatan region of Mexico during the Late Cretaceous. This event would be the starting point of a mass extinction worldwide that ended the reign of the “terrible lizards”. However, this theory is beginning to lose popularity in favor of speaking of a colossal volcanic activity that killed all the dinosaurs that roamed the planet.

Geologists and paleontologists are struggling to gather enough evidence to support this hypothesis . On December 5 were presented in the annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union (American Geophysical Union) in San Francisco, new results seem to support the theory that volcanoes and discard the asteroid , known as mass extinction of K / T. The debate is and one of the experts on the subject is the geologist from Princeton University , Gerta Keller , director of a study that argues that volcanic activity killed the dinosaurs. Keller believes that the new information presented at the annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union encourage the reconsideration of the ultimate cause of the KT mass extinction and the geologist, and his colleagues argue that the impact of the Yucatan (Chicxulub) happened about 300,000 years before the extinction.

Those who defend the asteroid theory argue that the impact occurred about 65 million years, released extraordinary amounts of toxic gas and dust in the planet’s atmosphere, the sun’s rays were blocked and the climate cooled. This was decisive for the extinction of life, both on land and at sea. Furthermore, the tremendous impact triggered a chain reaction activating volcanoes and causing earthquakes and tsunamis. Keller contraargumenta that the impact may not produce sufficient quantities of sulfur dioxide and carbon dioxide to cause a mass extinction:

The meteorite was too small to cause extinction.

The extinction of the dinosaurs was caused by volcanoes image 2

The team analyzed the impact of Chicxulub and sediments and subsequent pre-existing. Keller states that the impact was not as dramatic or disastrous as we thought:

We found that not a single species extinct due to Chicxulub impact.

It is believed that volcanic activity took place in present India in the region known as the Deccan Traps (Deccan Traps) . There, for countless years, volcanoes thrown into the atmosphere large amounts of sulfur dioxide and carbon dioxin, the consequences: global warming and more acidic oceans mass extinction. During the Cretaceous period, the area of activity, covering an area similar to that of Europe. Keller and colleagues analyzed volcanic sediments of the region discovered three years ago to study. The evidence suggests geological unprecedented activity in the area, these mountains lava poured incessantly for extended periods of time. Volcanologists Courtillot Vincent, Steve Self, Mike Widdowson, and Anne Lise Chenet say that eruptions occurred pulse. Each pulse may last 10 to 100 years, in phases that could expand to 100,000 years. Research suggests that the planet took about half a million years to recover from the eruptions of the Deccan Traps.

Other voices saying that both should relate facts, perhaps the asteroid impact alone was not enough, perhaps volcanic activity of the Deccan Traps was the culmination of a process that had been brewing for thousands of years.

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