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Decipher the largest mass extinction in Earth’s history

Sunday, August 29, 2021 16:30 PM (GMT+7)

250 million years ago, most of life on planet Earth died out. In an event that marked the end of the Permian, more than 96% of the planet’s marine species and 70% of terrestrial life suddenly went extinct. It was the largest mass extinction in Earth’s history.

Two American scientists have made an important discovery about the largest mass extinction in Earth’s history.

Recently, researchers from Florida State University (FSU) in the US found that the extinction coincided with a sudden increase, then a decrease in the oxygen content of the ocean. Their findings have been published in the journal Nature Geoscience.

Sean Newby, lead author and graduate research assistant at FSU, said: “There have been previous studies that have shown that the environment becomes less oxygenated leading to an extinction event, but it has not been confirmed. The hypothesis is a gradual change. We were surprised to see that this really rapid oxidation event coincided with the beginning of the extinction and then the return of the severely hypoxic conditions.”

Carbon dioxide released during volcanic eruptions warmed the Earth’s atmosphere, reduced the amount of oxygen in the oceans, and made the oceans relatively inhospitable for millions of years.

“It’s not just the loss of oxygen in the modern ocean,” said Jeremy Owens, an associate professor in the Department of Earth, Oceans and Atmosphere and co-author of the paper. The loss of oxygen is important because modern living organisms have adapted to high oxygen levels, but if oxygen levels are low, many organisms can also adapt. Any rapid swings in either direction will have an impact.”

Many studies have shown that the amount of lava that was thrown above the surface of the planet at that time was about 1.5 million km3. This is such a huge number that it is hard to imagine.

For comparison, the most formidable volcanoes ever erupted in human history also hardly spewed up to 1km3 of lava. So what if there were 1.5 million such volcanoes erupting all over the earth?

The whole planet is a sea of ​​fire that nothing can extinguish. Dust and carbon dioxide permeate the air that fills the sky, causing a greenhouse effect that makes the air hotter.

Under the ocean, ocean currents change and many planetary systems disappear due to continental movement and collision. This whole process is the systematic cause of the most devastating mass extinction in history.


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