Nation World News , Earth It has experienced five mass extinction events, and one of them, the Permian extinction, is considered the largest. This great extinction event marked the line between the Permian period and the Triassic period.
Scientists believe they may have found the cause of the Permian extinction, namely global warming caused by volcanic eruptions between 256 and 252 million years ago on what is now the east coast of Australia.
Although scientists are aware that extinction events are caused by planetary warming, they are not sure what caused them.
The prevailing theory is a volcanic eruption in what is now Siberia, but there is evidence that by the time Siberia’s volcanoes began spewing magma over two million years, the Earth had warmed by 6 – 8C.
Evidence of a supervolcano has been found in the New England region of New South Wales, Australia, as has been found in the United States (US) and at Yellowstone Park in Taupo, New Zealand.
The volcano erupted, filling 150,000 km3 of volcanic material into the atmosphere with greenhouse gases and covering the entire east coast of Australia in thick ash in places.
As an example, the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in AD 79 which destroyed the Roman city of Pompeii and deposited in ash, released only 3–4 km of volcanic material.
While the eruption of Mt. Helens 1980 killed 57 people and was the deadliest eruption in United States history, releasing only 1 km3 of volcanic material.
As Sputnik reports, scientists who published their findings in the journal Nature believe that Siberian volcanism is exacerbating the devastation that volcanism has triggered in Australia.
It should be noted, Earth was a very different place at this time. Almost every landmass was connected, including what is now Australia and Siberia, on the supercontinent known as Pangea.
While the extinction event that killed off the dinosaurs at the end of the Jurassic period 65 million years ago is the most famous, the Permian Extinction, completely and nearly ended life on the planet.
After the volcanic events of Australia and Siberia, the Earth’s temperature continued to rise, up to 10C on land and up to 8C at sea level. It causes the death of almost all trees on Earth and kills 95% of marine life and 70% of land species.
The only non-microbiological kingdoms that have managed to survive are fungi, which thrive from the dead organic matter left behind by large numbers of dead plants and animals.
Some scientists believe we are now living through a sixth mass extinction event, called the Holocene Extinction. It originated 10,000 years ago, but it is believed that human activity accelerated it through pollution and habitat destruction.