There is no doubt that a big rock from space hurtled through the Earth’s atmosphere at the same approximate time that the dinosaurs were eliminated from the species chain 65 million years ago. But despite this common knowledge, there is still an open question as to whether Dinosaurs were on the way out anyway, whether a new spurt of volcanic eruptions finally knocked them off, or whether really was a case of Death By Comet.
New research published in Science suggest it may have been the perfect storm of all three of three reasons.
As reported on EarthSky.org
“A team of geologists have uncovered evidence that an asteroid impact on Earth 66 million years ago accelerated huge Indian volcanic eruptions – known as the Deccan Traps – for hundreds of thousands of years. The researchers suggest that, together, these planet-wide catastrophes led to the extinction of many land and marine animals, including the dinosaurs.
The researchers found that the eruptions accelerated within 50,000 years of the asteroid impact and were likely reignited by the impact, which may have generated magnitude 9 earthquakes or stronger everywhere on Earth.
For 35 years, paleontologists and geologists have debated the role that these two global events – the asteroid impact and the Deccan Traps eruptions – played in the last mass extinction. One side claims the eruptions were irrelevant, and the other side claims the impact was a blip in a long-term die-off.
The new evidence includes what the researcher say are the most accurate dates yet for the volcanic eruptions before and after the impact. The new dates show that the Deccan Traps lava flows, which at the time were erupting at a slower pace, doubled in output within 50,000 years of the asteroid or comet impact that is thought to have initiated the last mass extinction on Earth.
Both the impact and the volcanism would have blanketed the planet with dust and noxious fumes, say the scientists, drastically changing the climate and sending many species to an early grave.”
Luckily for us humans, looks like the Dinosaurs never stood a chance.