Volcanoes Eruptions Had Small Effects Before an Asteroid Killed Dinosaurs

Yale researchers have determined that the asteroid was the main cause of the death of dinosaurs.

Massive volcanic eruptions in India in the region known as the Deccan Traps happened well before the Cretaceous-Paleogene extinction event 66 million years ago and therefore did not contribute to the mass extinction.

They pinpointed the timing of volcanic gas emission by comparing global temperature change and the carbon isotopes (an isotope is an atom with a higher or lower number of neutrons than normal) from marine fossils with models of the climatic effect of CO2 release. They concluded that most of the gas release happened well before the asteroid impact — and that the asteroid was the sole driver of extinction.

Volcanic activity in the late Cretaceous caused a gradual global warming event of about two degrees, but not mass extinction.

Science – On impact and volcanism across the Cretaceous-Paleogene boundary

An impact with a dash of volcanism
Around the time of the end-Cretaceous mass extinction that wiped out dinosaurs, there was both a bolide impact and a large amount of volcanism. Hull et al. ran several temperature simulations based on different volcanic outgassing scenarios and compared them with temperature records across the extinction event. The best model fits to the data required most outgassing to occur before the impact. When combined with other lines of evidence, these models support an impact-driven extinction. However, volcanic gases may have played a role in shaping the rise of different species after the extinction event.

The cause of the end-Cretaceous mass extinction is vigorously debated, owing to the occurrence of a very large bolide impact and flood basalt volcanism near the boundary. Disentangling their relative importance is complicated by uncertainty regarding kill mechanisms and the relative timing of volcanogenic outgassing, impact, and extinction. We used carbon cycle modeling and paleotemperature records to constrain the timing of volcanogenic outgassing. We found support for major outgassing beginning and ending distinctly before the impact, with only the impact coinciding with mass extinction and biologically amplified carbon cycle change. Our models show that these extinction-related carbon cycle changes would have allowed the ocean to absorb massive amounts of carbon dioxide, thus limiting the global warming otherwise expected from postextinction volcanism.

23 thoughts on “Volcanoes Eruptions Had Small Effects Before an Asteroid Killed Dinosaurs”

  1. GDP per capita information is BS. I can see that Jamaicans seem to be living a far better lifestyle on the average than what GDP per capita would suggest. There are a lot of new expensive cars on the streets.

  2. Jamaica is a relatively small island, which means short drives (like Hawaii). If they have lots of solar and wind power, there is your local, homegrown infrastructure. At this point, looking at the average Jamaican salary, purchasing power is the issue for EVs.

  3. Yes, it is unlikely except for one thing. Is is possible that the objects are already in the inner solar system in the Taurids stream. It is possible that the debris of the break up of the large comet that cause the Younger Dryas impact is still orbiting the sun and could hit us again and again.

  4. We don’t have a reliable way to measure when a stone was shaped so take the reported ages of megaliths with a large grain of salt.

  5. Just came back from vacation in Jamaica. I have to report that solar hot water heating, solar panels and wind turbines all seem to be popular down there. They don’t need to repeat our mistakes. EV aren’t that popular due to lack of a charging infrastructure.

  6. The point is Bronze tools were supposed to have built many sites in the Middle East around 5000 years ago. If you look at the Great Pyramids and the Spinx they are impossible to have been built with Bronze tools. Do not conflate these with the tombs which were much smaller and used smaller stones and cement. Think how could 1000 ton stones be cut much less moved. LOOK at the Younger Dryas that happened 11,800 years ago via comet impacts that whipped out a old advanced civilization. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zubjwo7ea3A


  7. Looks like you also skipped out that day since it was actually 300 years earlier that Nick Steno established that the rock layer on top of another layer is younger than the layer beneath it – but looking beyond the textbook, Stenos reasoning could be easily questioned since sediment in flux will naturally stratify by density before it solidifies – therefore, depending on the thickness of a given flow an entire column of stratum could be of the same exact age.

    Credence in Lyle’s (guess work [as you put it] is difficult to palate because he chose to use an objective number of years to define the boundaries between each layer of his Geological Column, instead of taking a conservative approach and rounding off the numbers since his dating assumptions were entirely subjective, .

    Today we see similar errors since with all the modern and allegedly accurate dating techniques currently available, science has taken the conservative approach that Lyle should have taken instead of precise approach that we would expect in an era of precise dating methods. Today’s “super accurate” geological column does not provide specific dates correcting those that Lyle originally provided, Instead we now have Geological Column set up with numbers rounded in the millions – the current nicely rounded ages tells there still isn’t any precision or accuracy in modern dating methods.

  8. Could you link to information about these 1000 tonne stones from before the Younger Dryas event?

    The oldest site I can find any mention of is Gobekli Tepe which features stones of up to 20 tonnes, which is clearly much more feasible.

    Also, I thought that bronze tools didn’t come around until about 5000 years later?

  9. There could be composition differences, but for volcanic eruptions I’d expect those to be relatively minor. On the other hand, a small composition difference over a large eruption might have a noticeable effect.

  10. Perhaps differences in sulpur emitted? The dino ‘roid apparently hit a sulpur rich (reef) deposit, otherwise it would not have been so bad.

  11. Unless we wake up to the fact that the Younger Dryas event nearly whipped out man 11,800 years ago we may see it occur again. There was an advanced civilization at that time that was eliminated. Otherwise please explain how 1000 ton stones were cut and moved. And this was supposed to occur with bronze tools for cutting with ropes and wood to move them.

  12. You seem to have missed learning the distinction between relative age dating & absolute ages.
    The fact that rock layer A was older than rock layer B was well established by the late 19th century, but how many millions of years there were between those rock layers being deposited was guesswork then. With the development of radiometric dating in the 20th century, the absolute ages of the layers were established.

  13. There are multiple independent sufficient reasons to go to Space. Fighting global heating with Space Solar Power is *my fav*, but asteroid deflection is right up there. There seems to be good popular coverage of the asteroid problem, perhaps because they start out in Space. Woeful coverage of Space based global heating proposals. Really bad. Even the geoengineering prospects discussed only rarely mention “Space Sunglasses*, and then they usu say nothing of ISRU to build the things. We all need to jump into the global heating/SSP issue. An idea whose time has come, already! And such a huge project that Space is opened up as a side effect.

  14. A few conjectures off the top of my head:

    1) The effect may not be linear with eruption size.
    2) Different feedback effects may kick in at different eruption scales.
    3) Circumstantial context may further affect feedback effects. For example, different biosphere response.
    4) (Related to 3) Location matters. Different air currents, different latitude range (= different solar intensity), interplay with nearby ocean currents, etc.

    As I’ve noted before, climate is complex, and the biosphere is also complex.

  15. At the current rate of fosil burning, we’re warming Earth up faster than the Deccan Traps outgassing did, and we seem about as clueless as the dinosaurs at stopping it.

  16. Hmmm, are the folks at Yale are citing and relying on Lyle’s Geological Column though all the boundaries of the ages named and their durations as estimated therein were concocted in an era when the only dating technique that existed was ego and conjecture.

  17. It would be irresponsible to fund the ego trips of a tiny minority of rich, green space enthusiasts while millions of poorer olive coloured minorities are still living without modern scale cleansers and working day after day in the swamps of Antarctica.

  18. I’m kind of at a loss on this one. The Siberian traps are believed to have caused the Great Dying, the largest mass extinction in Earth’s history. Granted, the Deccan traps were 1/5th the size of the Siberian traps, but why the discrepancy in the impact on life on Earth? Even a super volcano, a vastly smaller event than something the size of those traps, had a noticeable impact on the weather at least for the short term.

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