Known as The Great Dying, a quarter of a billion years ago, thousands of both land and sea species became extinct because of massive death. The tragedy was caused by a series of aggressive volcanic eruptions that even emitted greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere.
A team of researchers is now trying to understand the position land animals had after this unfortunate event. The study is trying to show the background of the Permian era. At the moment, geologists and palaeobiologists have gathered information that could change anything that was believed until now.
The massive eruption occurred somewhere near nowaday’s Siberia, over 250 million years ago. At that time, the apparition of dinosaurs was only beginning to be contoured. The tectonic activity in that region generated aggressive pulses of eruptions that killed more or less than 90 percent of the existing species at that time.
The new study on the Great Dying event
What previous research shows are that during that time, the world was calm and nothing seemed to predict what happened. Palaeobotanist Cindy Looy from the University of California is suggesting that the collapse of marine and land animals started at the same time and location for both hemispheres.
As far as the aquatic ecosystem is concerned, 96 percent of the species was extinct. In the meantime, the researchers’ team focused on analyzing isotopes from crystals of zircon, which were part of pristine samples of volcanic ash. The research was realized using raw material from the Karoo Basin volcano from South Africa, which is thought to have influenced the most the end of the Permian vertebrates.
Additionally, Looy’s team is also considering the loss in the ozone layers to have played an essential role in the Great Dying event. Therefore, further research in the history is highly necessary to fully understand which other worldwide events occurred during the eruption crisis.