Volcanic Eruptions or Asteroid Collision: What really killed the dinosaurs?


Reason related to what led to the extinction of dinosaurs remains debatable. Until now, the most acceptable theory states that around sixty six million years ago, an asteroid as wide as 5 miles and moving at a speed of 70,000 miles per hour bumped into the Earth. The dust from this massive collision blocked the sun and in turn causing catastrophic chains of events that led the extinction of dinosaurs along with three-quarters of other species of the planet. 

However, researchers from MIT and Princeton University have found evidences supporting another theory. According to this theory, a crucial volcanic eruptions began just before the crash, possibly is also one of the reasons that led to the extinction of dinosaurs.

Researchers dated rocks collected from western-central India, known as Deccan traps. Studying the samples, they found that the volcanic activity started 250,000 years prior the asteroid collision and went on for 500,000 years after the collision. The eruption was so massive that lava layer around a mile and a half-thick covered 123,000 cubic miles of land.

Released gases might have increased temperature and acid levels in the ocean


Researchers believe that gases released during this period might have led to the drastic change in temperatures and acid levels in the ocean, making Earth inhospitable for dinosaurs and other forms of life. The study backed high-precision geochronology to know the age of the lava rocks from the Deccan Traps suggests that volcanic activities were one major factor that led dinosaurs demise, but unfortunately the exact turning point for the mass extinction still remains unanswered.

Professor of Earth and Planetary Sciences at MIT, Sam Bowring says that the asteroid collision may be the reason behind the extinction, but the volcanic eruptions may have a role to play as it altered the environment, thus setting up the initial stage for devastation.


Volcanic Eruptions or Asteroid Collision

Until 1980, precise reasons that caused dinosaur extinction was not known, although it was postulated that immense volcanic eruptions led the extinction. But in 1980, in Italy, the discovery of a rare element known as iridium, found mainly in extra-terrestrial materials and later locating Chicxulub crater in Mexico indicated asteroid collision caused the mass extinction.

Now with new evidences, researchers suggest that both catastrophes was involved that led the end of dinosaurs that ruled the planet. Researchers still say there is a lot to find before one can explain the exact series of events that caused the fallout of many species of life.

Source: news.com.au

Image: timeecocentric

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