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The new dates, using the latest generation of high-precision rock dating techniques, are needed because a quiet revolution in Earth Science has transformed our understanding of mass extinctions Earth’s past, including the end-Cretaceous mass extinction.EARTHTIME At the center of this revolution is EARTHTIME, an international collaborative project that has made root-and-branch improvements to the precision and accuracy of radiometric rock dating, spearheaded by Professor Sam Bowring of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.False color image of Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines, after the 1991 eruptions.The brown color surrounding the volcanic crater shows the mudflows spreading into the valleys below.The constant rain of organic debris produced by marine plants and animals, needs oxygen to decompose.With less oxygen, fewer organics are aerobically consumed.In India, flood basalts called the Deccan Traps are up to 3.5 kilometers deep.Now max out the magma-maker and imagine the Siberian Traps -- a hunk of lava measuring 1.6 million square kilometers. Because these floods of lava must have released vast clouds of sulfur dioxide, carbon dioxide, hydrogen fluoride and other gases that reflect or trap solar heat, it's a fair guess that the flood basalts mucked with the climate.

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“Warmer water slows the conveyer belt and brings less oxygen to the deep oceans,” says Kump.

Volcanic eruptions in Siberia 251 million years ago may have started a cascade of events leading to high hydrogen sulfide levels in the oceans and atmosphere and precipitating the largest mass extinction in Earth’s history, according to a Penn State geoscientist. "The recent dating of the Siberian trap volcanoes to be contemporaneous with the end-Permian extinction suggests that they were the trigger for the environmental events that caused the extinctions," says Lee R. "But the warming caused by these volcanoes through carbon dioxide emissions would not be large enough to cause mass extinctions by itself." That warming, however, could set off a series of events that led to mass extinction.

-– Volcanic eruptions in Siberia 251 million years ago may have started a cascade of events leading to high hydrogen sulfide levels in the oceans and atmosphere and precipitating the largest mass extinction in Earth’s history, according to a Penn State geoscientist.

“One thing really stuck out as a sore thumb to me: The total duration of magmatism in most cases is about 1 million years, but extinctions happen really quickly, in about 10,000 years. He surmised that the root cause of mass extinctions might be a shorter, more specific interval of magmatism within the much longer period over which large igneous provinces form.

That told me that it’s not the entire large igneous province driving extinction,” says Burgess, who is now a research scientist for the U. Digging through the data Burgess decided to re-examine geochronologic measurements he made as a graduate student in the lab of Samuel Bowring, the Robert R.

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