MIT Research: Global Warming Killed 90% of the Earth beings 252 Million Years Ago

20 Nov 2011, dilip Comments: | Views: 5372 | | Category: Environment, Science

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Image showing the Five Major Mass Extinctions in the Last 500 million years on earth

 Video : The Day Earth Nearly Died (due to global warming 252 million years ago) Part 1 above and Part 2 below

Global Warming/ Climate Change the buzz words that were circulating since the last two decades with scientists warning of rising sea levels and extinction of species couldn't turn in to much action. There are still quiet  considerable percentage of policy makers who dunk the climate change prophecies. Many researchers are being on both ends. But it requires no Phd to understand that the quality of life is deteroirating inspite of greatest scientific achievements. People say that History repeats - and it proved to be true on many occassions . Now the issue is a research by MIT geeks that Global warming killed 90 % of the species on this earth some 252 million years ago. ..

Since the first organisms appeared on Earth approximately 3.8 billion years ago, life on the planet has had some close calls. In the last 500 million years, Earth has undergone five mass extinctions, including the event 66 million years ago that wiped out the dinosaurs. And while most scientists agree that a giant asteroid was responsible for that extinction, there’s much less consensus on what caused an even more devastating extinction more than 185 million years earlier.

The end-Permian extinction occurred 252.2 million years ago, decimating 90 percent of marine and terrestrial species, from snails and small crustaceans to early forms of lizards and amphibians. “The Great Dying,” as it’s now known, was the most severe mass extinction in Earth’s history, and is probably the closest life has come to being completely extinguished. Possible causes include immense volcanic eruptions, rapid depletion of oxygen in the oceans, and — an unlikely option — an asteroid collision.

While the causes of this global catastrophe are unknown, an MIT-led team of researchers has now established that the end-Permian extinction was extremely rapid, triggering massive die-outs both in the oceans and on land in less than 20,000 years — the blink of an eye in geologic time. The researchers also found that this time period coincides with a massive buildup of atmospheric carbon dioxide, which likely triggered the simultaneous collapse of species in the oceans and on land. 

With further calculations, the group found that the average rate at which carbon dioxide entered the atmosphere during the end-Permian extinction was slightly below today’s rate of carbon dioxide release into the atmosphere due to fossil fuel emissions. Over tens of thousands of years, increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide during the Permian period likely triggered severe global warming, accelerating species extinctions.

The researchers also discovered evidence of simultaneous and widespread wildfires that may have added to end-Permian global warming, triggering what they deem “catastrophic” soil erosion and making environments extremely arid and inhospitable.

How they established?

Sam Bowring, the Robert R. Schrock Professor of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences (EAPS) at MIT, worked with a group of American and Chinese researchers to pinpoint the extinction’s duration. The group analyzed volcanic ash beds from Meishan, a region in southern China where an old limestone quarry exposes rocks containing abundant fossils from the Permian period, as well as the very first fossils that signified a recovery from extinction, during the Triassic period. The rocks of the region have been widely studied as the best global example of the Permian-Triassic Boundary (PTB). 

The group collected clay samples from ash beds both above and below rock layers from the PTB. In the lab, they separated out zircon, a robust mineral that can survive intense geological processes. Zircon contains trace amounts of uranium, which can be used to date the rocks in which it is found. Bowring and his colleagues analyzed 300 of the “best-looking” grains of zircon, and found the rocks above and below the mass-extinction period spanned only a 20,000-year phase - unlike what initially believed to be some millions years of extinction phase.

The group also analyzed carbon-isotope data from rocks in southern China and found that within the same period, the oceans and atmosphere experienced a large influx of carbon dioxide. Dan Rothman, a professor of geophysics in EAPS, calculated the average rate at which carbon dioxide entered the oceans and atmosphere at the time, finding it to be somewhat less than today’s influx due to fossil fuel emissions.

“The rate of injection of CO2 into the late Permian system is probably similar to the anthropogenic rate of injection of CO2 now,” Rothman says. “It’s just that it went on for … 10,000 years.”

So technically speaking if we continue at this rate of burning fossil fuels and making electricity from what all the possible sources - will humans survive for another 10000 years? Ya may be - but the damage has already started and maybe the extinction phase started, every day we hear that some species got wiped off from the face of the earth  - at that time(252 million years ago)  there was lot of greenery to soak back the carbon - but now the greenery is already getting knocked off, so the end may be soon. But , we are not like that creepy gaint creatures - right? Our human mind has lot of potential and definietly human race will be saved - but it is getting late and action is immediately required... till then try your best to not to pollute the environment...... 

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