Two hundred and fifty million years ago, massive volcanic eruptions resulted to the greatest extinction of many a species (90% of marine life and 70% of land vertebrates) in the Early Triassic period. Those that survived had much difficulty in recovering due to the ‘Great Dying’ aftermath – global warming.
The ‘Great Dying’ had gained much attention from people due to the vast extinction, but an equally important issue is the recovery of the remaining species from the event for they determined the kind of life people have now, according to the scientists who have recently unlocked the reason behind the five-million-year long period of very little life recovery right after the disaster.
Scientists from Ohio State University analyzed the ocean floor’s sedimentary rock formation 250 million years ago and discovered the occurrence of global warming as the aftermath of the immense volcanic eruptions that spewed enough molten rock to cover a vast land area and enough greenhouse gases to dramatically increase Earth’s temperature, causing the survived species to struggle.
Chemicals that were uncovered in the rocks confirmed that subsequent to the eruptions, a vast portion of the Earth’s surface was weathered away by the greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, changing the Earth’s climate. In fact, the ocean was highly acidic and warm (104oF), conditions that are not conducive to live in anymore.
Scientists believe that there are a lot of things that can be learned from this episode relating it to the current global warming. The volcanic eruptions are tantamount to the modern sources of greenhouse gases.
“If you want to know what’s going to happen in the future, looking at the past provides an important perspective,” said Matthew Saltzman, professor of earth sciences at Ohio State. “Global warming has happened before, and in some cases the consequences were severe.
“The lesson is, life doesn’t just snap back.”