Volcanoes had always been present on Earth. In fact, back when our planet was very young, volcanoes represented a very usual sight, as they were located pretty much everywhere, and Earth was covered in molten lava. A new study that ScienceAlert.com speaks about reveals what happened on Earth’s surface much later: “only” 56 million years ago when the volcanic activity was also pretty imposing.
The new findings reveal that the volcanoes plugged up the seaway between the Arctic and the Atlantic. This changed how the oceans’ waters mixed.
The remote area of the northeast part of Greenland should be studied more, as it’s located at a crucial point when it comes to volcanic activity. A team of scientists led by the Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland (GEUS) discovered that an uplifting of the geology from the area was the cause of a level of fragmentation that cut two major oceans off from one another.
Milo Barham, who is a paleontologist from Curtin University, declared:
We found that volcanic activity and the resulting uplift of the edge of the Greenland continent 56 million years ago led to the formation of a new tropical landscape and narrowing of the seaway connecting the Atlantic and Arctic oceans,
So not only did the spike in volcanic activity produce an increase in greenhouse gases, but the restriction of the seaway also reduced the flow of water between the oceans, disturbing heat distribution and the acidity of the deeper ocean.
According to USGS, there are currently roughly 1,500 potentially active volcanoes around the world, aside from the belts of volcanoes present on the ocean floor. The same source also adds that there are 169 potentially active volcanoes only in the United States.
The new research has been published in Communications Earth & Environment.