A new study argues that future CO2 emissions could be on par with emissions that took place almost 200 million years ago, triggering the sixth extinction event. One pulse of volcanic eruptions released an amount of CO2, which was high enough to increase the global temperature by 2 degrees Celsius and trigger oceanic acidification.
The extinction event which took place at the end of the Triassic led to the demise of approximately 76% of all the marine and terrestrial species that could be found at that time on Earth.
Specific factors remain a mystery, but a popular theory mentions that massive volcanic eruptions that took place in the Atlantic led to a significant boost in carbon dioxide, paving the way for global warming. Some of the changes may have also empowered dinosaurs, allowing them to become the dominant species on the planet.
The Sixth Extinction Could Come Due To High CO2 Emissions
The authors of the study explored volcanic eruptions that took place in the Central Atlantic Magmatic Province (also known as CAMP) to learn more about the carbon dioxide emissions which took place during the end of the Triassic period. With a size of 4.2 million square miles, the site is huge, as the eruptions lasted for a million years.
Samples of basaltic rocks from CAMP have been recovered from the area and analyzed, with the primary goal being the detection of bubbles of gas that may have been stored in melt inclusions, which are a small amount of magma that was surrounded in crystals.
Researchers believe that the eruptions followed a pulse routine, with each one lasting from several centuries to thousands of years. The constant eruptions and carbon dioxide releases are thought to have exerted an impressive influence over the global climate, accelerating warming and acidification.
According to some researchers, who read the study, the amount of CO2 emissions due to human activities could be on par with one of the intense pulses, and they might lead to the sixth extinction. More data will be released in the future.