About 200 million years ago, a mass extinction happened, and it wiped out about 76% of all the species on Earth, marine, and terrestrial. This event was called the end-Triassic extinction (or J-T extinction event). The world experienced a lot of the things that we do now, on Earth, including the warm climate and the acidification of the oceans.
There’s a new paper that shows that the pulses of volcanic eruptions were the reason behind that and that the pulses released about the same amount of CO2 as humans do today.
Researchers have tried for years to see which was the reason behind the J-T extinction event. In theory, there was an asteroid or a comet responsible for the gradual changes in the Earth’s cycles and volcanic eruptions. This event was one of the five mass extinctions in Earth’s history. There is some evidence to support these causes, but the case for volcanic eruptions seems clear now.
The paper is named “Deep CO2 in the end-Triassic Central Atlantic Magmatic Province.”, and it is published in the journal Nature Communications. The authors focused on Large Igneous Provinces, which are large areas of igneous rocks, which come from the magma that’s rising through the crust of Earth. They focused on CAMP, which is the largest continental Large Igneous Province on Earth.
When the J-T extinction happened, the land mass of Earth was only one large continent called Pangaea. CAMP was in the center of Pangaea. Some of the elements left of CAMP can also be seen today. One of them is in Morocco. Some of the flows are 300 meters deep.
The volcanic eruptions from Large Igneous Provinces also coincide with the mass extinctions that took place during the Phanerozoic era. This one began 540 million years ago, and it is also the current era.