Feeds

Volcanic activity did for the dinosaurs

Asteroid simply the last straw, study suggests

Intelligent flash storage arrays

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. ®

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
GRAV WAVE DRAMA: 'Big Bang echo' may have been grit on the scanner – boffins
Exit Planet Dust on faster-than-light expansion of universe
SpaceX Dragon cargo truck flies 3D printer to ISS: Clawdown in 3, 2...
Craft berths at space station with supplies, experiments, toys
That glass of water you just drank? It was OLDER than the SUN
One MEELLION years older. Some of it anyway
NASA rover Curiosity drills HOLE in MARS 'GOLF COURSE'
Joins 'traffic light' and perfect stony sphere on the Red Planet
Big dinosaur wowed females with its ENORMOUS HOOTER
That's right, Doris, I've got biggest snout in the prehistoric world
Japanese volcano eruption reportedly leaves 31 people presumed dead
Hopes fade of finding survivors on Mount Ontake
Relive the death of Earth over and over again in Extinction Game
Apocalypse now, and tomorrow, and the next day, and the day after that ...
prev story

Whitepapers

A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.