Were the Dinosaurs made Extinct due to a Double Whammy – Asteroid and Volcanic Eruption?
Could it be that the time of the Dinosaurs came to an end not just from a massive asteroid impact but could the impact have triggered the Volcanic shift? Studies show that Volcanic activity surged at the same time of the asteroid impact. This means that massive eruptions of Lava would have combined with the Chicxulub asteroid impact to wipe out over half of earths species at that time.
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Scientists have debated whether volcanic eruptions assisted the Chicxulub asteroid impact in wiping out over half of the planet’s species at the end of the Cretaceous period, roughly 66 million years ago. Previous studies showed that while eruptions in western India’s Deccan Traps began millions of years before the impact, volcanic activity surged closer to the time of the asteroid collision. In the new study, researchers report that during this volcanic shift, the amount of lava flooding the Deccan Traps roughly doubled, despite fewer overall eruptions. Scientists previously estimated that the impact and the lava surge were separated by under 100,000 years; the new study places the two events within around 50,000 years of each other.
“They both happened at effectively the same time, which is why we think there’s a causal link between them,” says study coauthor Paul Renne, a geochronologist at the Berkeley Geochronology Center in California. Earthquakes can be linked to small volcanic eruptions, so the Chicxulub impact — which would have caused the equivalent of a quake with magnitude 10 or greater — could have shifted Deccan volcanism, Renne says.
Understanding the process behind the extinction may prove challenging. Data show a clear link between the asteroid impact and extinction patterns worldwide, but scientists haven’t found signs of a global effect of volcanism at the end of the Cretaceous period, says paleontologist David Fastovsky of the University of Rhode Island in Kingston. And ultimately, it’s impossible to determine if volcanoes or the asteroid impact caused the extinction, he says. “The pattern that would be left from the volcanism is in fact indistinguishable from the pattern that’s left from the asteroid,” he says. “It’s fundamentally un-testable.”
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