Feeds

Volcanic activity did for the dinosaurs

Asteroid simply the last straw, study suggests

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

The dinosaurs might have been wiped out by a huge volcanic eruption, a new study suggests, rather than an asteroid strike 65m years ago, as is widely believed.

The possibility of a volcanic catastrophe being behind the fall of the great reptiles has long been mooted: the Deccan Traps in India are evidence of a series of huge volcanic eruptions that have been dated to around 65m years ago, the same time as the dinosaurs vanished from the Earth.

The eruptions would have sent massive quantities of ash and sulphur dioxide into the atmosphere, enough to have a significant impact on the climate, and possibly doom the terrible lizards.

However, until now, the eruptions were thought to have taken place sporadically, over the course of several million years. This would have given the environment and climate plenty of time to adjust, and has always made the asteroid strike the more likely candidate for the dinosaurs' sudden extinction.

The new study, conducted by scientists at the Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris, suggests that much of the volcanic activity too place within a relatively short period of time - perhaps as little as 30,000 years, The Independent reports.

by studying the magnetisation of the lava, the researchers are able to estimate how the time period over which it solidified. They discovered that in 30,000 years a 660m thick layer of lava was deposited. This would have been accompanied by enough sulphur dioxide to alter the climate, and to alter the PH of the seas.

The arrival of the asteroid 65m years ago was just the icing on the cake.

"Paleontologists say the decline in the dinosaurs began long before the Chicxulub impact. We would argue that they were being poisoned due to the Deccan Traps," Dr. Mike Widdowson, a volcanologist from the Open University in Milton Keynes, told the paper. ®

Remote control for virtualized desktops

More from The Register

next story
Antarctic ice THICKER than first feared – penguin-bot boffins
Robo-sub scans freezing waters, rocks warming models
I'll be back (and forward): Hollywood's time travel tribulations
Quick, call the Time Cops to sort out this paradox!
Your PHONE is slowly KILLING YOU
Doctors find new Digitillnesses - 'text neck' and 'telepressure'
Reuse the Force, Luke: SpaceX's Elon Musk reveals X-WING designs
And a floating carrier for recyclable rockets
Britain's HUMAN DNA-strewing Moon mission rakes in £200k
3 days, and Kickstarter moves lander 37% nearer takeoff
Rosetta science team thinks Philae might come to life in the spring
And disclose the biggest surprise of Comet 67P
Bond villains lament as Wicked Lasers withdraw death ray
Want to arm that shark? Better get in there quick
prev story

Whitepapers

10 ways wire data helps conquer IT complexity
IT teams can automatically detect problems across the IT environment, spot data theft, select unique pieces of transaction payloads to send to a data source, and more.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
How to determine if cloud backup is right for your servers
Two key factors, technical feasibility and TCO economics, that backup and IT operations managers should consider when assessing cloud backup.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Mitigating web security risk with SSL certificates
Web-based systems are essential tools for running business processes and delivering services to customers.