JoNova

A science presenter, writer, speaker & former TV host; author of The Skeptic's Handbook (over 200,000 copies distributed & available in 15 languages).


Handbooks

The Skeptics Handbook

Think it has been debunked? See here.

The Skeptics Handbook II

Climate Money Paper


Advertising

micropace


GoldNerds

The nerds have the numbers on precious metals investments on the ASX



Archives

Did Australian monster volcanoes cause the mass extinction 510m years ago?

Marvel this: It would seem that massive volcanic eruptions in Australia wiped out 50% of all species 510 million years ago.

Try to imagine a volcano so big, the lava flow covers 2 million square kilometers. For US folk, that would be like a volcano that covered California, Nevada, Arizona, Utah, Oregon, Idaho and Washington State combined.

(And some people think we are facing a “crisis” today?)

It was, to put it mildly, quite bad news for trilobites which had only been around for a trifling 10 million years at that stage. Otherwise life at that time was sponges, fungi, algae, and on land, attractive sounding things like microbial mats. (I suspect a Cambrian-era-Greenpeace would have struggled to find cuddly photogenic targets. Oops, no cameras either.)

 

510m years ago that Kalkarindji volcano erupted.  The dashed line indicates the borders of the Kalkarindji “large igneous province.” Image: Fred Jourdan/ Curtin University Department of Applied Geology

I love the grand big-picture in all its imponderable vastness and power. I’m not so enthused on their climate analysis. I half wonder – half marvel at whether we can really figure out what happened that long ago.

The poor researchers are burdened with the culture of bad climate models. You can feel their struggle: volcanic dust causes cooling, but CO2 causes warming.  Which wins? Do we get the ultimate volcanic winter or will that be global warming? Answer, apparently “both”:

“The study states it would result in “rapid climate changes and climate oscillations.”

Translation, Jourdan said: “Game over.”

“It was a yo-yo effect,” Jourdan says. “You had a long-term warming with the greenhouse gasses, but also a back-and-forth between warming and a cooling.”” — Washington Post

I wonder what resolution they get on that climate yo-yo 510,000,000 years ago. Were those annual, decadal, or centennial swings?

Their climate speculation aside, I found the rest of the paper intriguing. It was first released at the end of May.

—————————————————–

Australia’s deadly eruptions were reason for the first mass extinction

[Curtin University, May 30th 2014]

A Curtin University researcher has shown that ancient volcanic eruptions in Australia 510 million years ago significantly affected the climate, causing the first known mass extinction in the history of complex life.

Published in the journal Geology, Associate Professor Fred Jourdan from Curtin’s Department of Applied Geology, along with colleagues from several Australian and international institutions, used radioactive dating techniques to precisely measure the age of the eruptions of the Kalkarindji volcanic province — where lavas covered an area of more than 2 million square kilometres in the Northern Territory and Western Australia.

Dr Jourdan and his team were able to prove the volcanic province occurred at the same time as the Early-Middle Cambrian extinction from 510-511 million years ago — the first extinction to wipe out complex multicellular life.

“It has been well-documented that this extinction, which eradicated 50 per cent of species, was related to climatic changes and depletion of oxygen in the oceans, but the exact mechanism causing these changes was not known, until now,” Dr Jourdan said.

“Not only were we able to demonstrate that the Kalkarindji volcanic province was emplaced at the exact same time as the Cambrian extinction, but were also able to measure a depletion of sulphur dioxide from the province’s volcanic rocks — which indicates sulphur was released into the atmosphere during the eruptions.

“As a modern comparison, when the small volcano Pinatubo erupted in 1991, the resulting discharge of sulphur dioxide decreased the average global temperatures by a few tenths of a degree for a few years following the eruption.

“If relatively small eruptions like Pinatubo can affect the climate just imagine what a volcanic province with an area equivalent to the size of the state of Western Australia can do.”

The team then compared the Kalkarindji volcanic province with other volcanic provinces and showed the most likely process for all the mass extinctions was a rapid oscillation of the climate triggered by volcanic eruptions emitting sulphur dioxide, along with greenhouse gases methane and carbon dioxide.

“We calculated a near perfect chronological correlation between large volcanic province eruptions, climate shifts and mass extinctions over the history of life during the last 550 million years, with only one chance over 20 billion that this correlation is just a coincidence,” Dr Jourdan said.

Dr Jourdan said the rapid oscillations of the climate produced by volcanic eruptions made it difficult for various species to adapt, ultimately resulting in their demise. He also stressed the importance of this research to better understand our current environment.

Note the usual request for funds: pay us more money because it will help us to understand “climate change”.

“To comprehend the long-term climatic and biological effects of the massive injections of gas in the atmosphere by modern society, we need to recognise how climate, oceans and ecosytems were affected in the past,” he said.

I wish they felt they could ask for funds just because it’s fascinating.

REFERENCE

 Jourdan, F., et al  (2014)  High-precision dating of the Kalkarindji large igneous province, Australia, and synchrony with the Early-Middle Cambrian (Stage 4-5) extinction. Geology, 2014; 42 (6): 543 DOI: 10.1130/G35434.1

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 8.6/10 (39 votes cast)
Did Australian monster volcanoes cause the mass extinction 510m years ago?, 8.6 out of 10 based on 39 ratings

Tiny Url for this post: http://tinyurl.com/l99x97j

99 comments to Did Australian monster volcanoes cause the mass extinction 510m years ago?

  • #
    turnedoutnice

    Whaddya mean; extinction of tribolites? They exist now as the Australian Labor Party!

    240

    • #
      the Griss

      As do the sponges, as their voters.

      181

    • #
      Richard the Great

      I don’t think the article implied that trilobites became extinct at this time. Bad news is not extinction although some trilobite species did become extinct. In fact they only disappeared from the fossil record in the Permian mass extinction much later. This was associated with more volcanics – this time in Siberia.

      20

  • #
    Peter Miller

    Volcanoes have been essential in shaping the world we know today.

    In the recent geological past – the last 2,000 years – there have been several volcanic eruptions, which would cause chaos if they happened today. The most serious of these was the Rabaul Caldera eruption in Papua New Guinea, which resulted in the “years without a sun” in 536-539AD and again in 542 AD. If it happened today, it would make the Great Depression appear puny and would result in hundreds of millions of deaths.

    Of course, there are a couple of civilisation busters also out there, the most famous being the super-volcano underneath Yellowstone Park in NW USA . This erupts approximately every 600,000 years and we are apparently overdue for the next one.

    Intriguingly, we have not had a serious eruption over the past 200 years. There have been big ones, like Mount St Helens, which were a big inconvenience and not a catastrophe.

    I suppose this this leads to the obvious conclusion that we should set up an IPCC equivalent for volcanoes. Another scary story to fill up the financial troughs of pseudo-scientists purporting to do research.

    There must be lots of trolls out there who believe global warming causes everything bad in the world today, especially volcanic eruptions. Would one of the resident trolls here like to comment on this?

    330

    • #
      handjive

      Quote Peter M: “There must be lots of trolls out there who believe global warming causes everything bad in the world today, especially volcanic eruptions.”

      Quote MS. Jo above: “Do we get the ultimate volcanic winter or will that be global warming? Answer, apparently “both”

      Global Warming Causes Normal Weather

      “The recent weeks of warm weather punctuated by sharp, thunderous storms are, according to the Met Office, pretty much what should be expected for this time of year and, across the land, nature is taking advantage of a return to order.

      Meadows are in full flower and abuzz with insects, fruit is abundant and ripening and birds are feasting on the bounty.
      In the fields, farmers are looking forward to a good harvest.

      Scientists have suggested that global warming caused this shift, but only time will confirm or refute that idea.

      “What makes this summer’s weather more noticeable is the run of cool, wet summers from 2007 to 2012,” said Mike Kendon, at the Met Office’s national climate information centre.”
      . . .

      This is the ultimate evidence that a form of madness has infected the minds of the world’s political classes, and ALL are no longer mentally fit to continue in their jobs.
      They have lost the plot.

      All politicians in Australia have action on carbon(sic). They are all mad or frauds. Or Both!

      140

    • #
      the Griss

      There must be lots of trolls out there who believe global warming causes everything bad in the world today, especially volcanic eruptions

      And there will be some fool out there that thinks that we can control/stop the next major eruption, by not eating so many beans or something.

      And there will be a big push from the Greens to implement a bean tax to prevent volcanic eruptions….

      120

      • #
        Yonniestone

        Breaking news: The IPCC have pushed for the introduction of a “Bean Tax” to stop irreversible damage to the southern regions, bean tax panel chairperson Ophelia Wallett stated, “The reduction of beans will result in less damaging gases, our bean models have shown the enlarging effects on the hole in the nogozone layer in the southern region, the IPCC is resilient in closing the hole to prevent the complete destruction of it’s very fabric resulting in a prolapse that destroyed our nearby planets.”

        80

        • #
          Jon

          CAVE = Catastrophic Antroproghenic Volcanic Eruption

          A political Agenda or ideology needs a science that has big time uncertainties in order to be useful. Then one can speculate based on policy, you get policy based claims. Since we do not have the knowledge here we can not validate or falsify.

          10

      • #
        David

        Not eating so many beans will probably mean less eruptions Griss. I’d be a lot more probably certain if I had a substantial grant to do a study to evaluate the hypothesis.

        30

    • #

      The most serious of these was the Rabaul Caldera eruption in Papua New Guinea, which resulted in the “years without a sun” in 536-539AD

      How can you be confident that the effects of an eruption coincided with climate changes almost half a billion years ago if the effects only last for a few years? I know that these eruptions must have been ongoing for centuries but the resolution, especially if we are talking about a period where temperatures oscillated rather than cooled or warmed 10 degrees for a million years, must be hopeless.

      40

      • #
        Peter Miller

        The volcanic eruptions Jo is referring to was 510 million years ago and were several orders of magnitude greater, in addition they probably continued over tens of thousands of years. The Rabaul Caldera eruption was a minuscule event in comparison.

        The place I find fascinating is Iceland, which consists almost entirely of lavas, probably over half less than 2.6 million years old, the start of the Pleistocene Ice Age – could there be a connection?

        I was there recently and surprised to see the remains of so many volcanoes which had erupted under water, or to be more precise under ice/glaciers. When a volcano erupts under a glacier, or shallow water, the resulting ash pollution can be enormous and a temporary climate changer, if big enough. The eruption of the Laki volcano in 1783/84 had a huge impact on the Northern Hemisphere’s climate, wiped out most of Iceland’s livestock and a sizable percentage of its people. For those who are interested, the following is a good link.

        http://www.google.co.uk/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=5&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0CDkQFjAE&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.geo.mtu.edu%2F~raman%2Fpapers2%2FThordarson%2520and%2520Larsen%25202007%2520-%2520Volcanism%2520in%2520Iceland.pdf&ei=gJDYU9LOOYTE7AbovYH4DA&usg=AFQjCNFFwfQSuTBTULhOkRHAcHhEuk5M4Q

        00

        • #

          The abstract says “New U-Pb and 40Ar/39Ar age data from intrusive rocks and lava flows yielded statistically indistinguishable ages at ca. 511 Ma, suggesting a relatively brief emplacement for this province. A zircon age of 510.7 ± 0.6 Ma shows that this province is temporally indistinguishable at the few-hundred-thousand-year level from the Early–Middle Cambrian (Stage 4–5) boundary age of 510 ± 1 Ma, which marks the first severe extinction of the Phanerozoic and an extended marine anoxia period.”

          Even if the eruptions were for tens thousands of years the effects of each one would only last a few years then back to normal temperatures. Any estimates of time the climate might have oscillated would also be ±1-0.5 million years. The temperature between 540-500 million years ago changed by about 1°C with a generous uncertainty of ±0.5°C. That paper’s abstract says the best resolution was 0.7Ma.”(O)nly one chance over 20 billion that this correlation is just a coincidence” sounds a little dubious.

          00

  • #

    Note the usual request for funds: pay us more money because it will help us to understand “climate change”.

    The poor guys are going the wrong way about it. They have just shown that climate apocalypse is a natural phenomena. All the sulphur would have caused proper acid rain. The temperatures would have fallen due to particles blocking the sun for years or even centuries.
    Human-caused pollution would be tiny in comparison.
    It is a shame that scientists must pay homage to the climate religion, just in the past scientists had to pay homage to the Established Church, Mohammed or Marx.

    100

  • #
    sophocles

    Something that size looks like a mantle/core pulse, caused by a … large … impactor on the other size of the globe.
    The Deccan Traps in India are thought to be a flood eruption after the Dinosaur Killer 64MYa splashed down off Yucatan.
    (There was a flood eruption in Siberia some time ago thought to be the “other side” of the globe from another impactor but no crater is known, although there are ideas.)

    It’s hard to say just where Oz was 500MYa at the end of the Cambrian. It could have been part of Gondwana Land as this source claims or it could have been out on its own. This source suggests it was trans-equatorial then, so if there was an impactor 180 degrees around the globe, it would have been a good direct hit!

    The positions of the present continents have been worked out with acceptable precision up to about 200 to 250MYa, but, before that, there is a lot of uncertainty.

    About 50MYa before this volcanism, (550MYa) was the Great Cambrian Explosion of life forms … and trilobytes. A long ice age (Sturtian-Varangian or Cryogenic Ice Age) had ended maybe 100MYa earlier (635MYa), with all ice caps gone by 550MYa, (according to Shaviv’s paper tracking ice age occurrences against the Solar System’s galactic orbit). The Pannotia supercontinent was broken up by approx 600MYa with Pangaea another 300MYa down the track, so there would have been plenty of (relatively) shallow seas for the GCE.

    It probably didn’t matter where on the face of the Earth Oz was, at that time. The size of that volcano would have done a lot of damage, regardless. If it was located as suggested here then the damage proposed is definitely plausible. But I wouldn’t assign it to just the vulcanism, not just yet.

    100

    • #
      sophocles

      But I wouldn’t assign it to just the vulcanism, not just yet.

      , “it” being the Early-Middle Cambrian Extinction.

      30

      • #
        gesta non verba

        You mean to say that it is the fault of the Vulcans…I knew that Spock was up to no good!

        31

        • #
          sophocles

          … archaic spelling. Real English instead of modern Amellycan-influenced stuff.

          20

          • #
            Duster

            Even many of us Americans, if we have studied geology, spell vulcanism as it should be spelled. However, the alternative with that irritating “o” has been around since the 1860s and seems to be a permanent fixture now. And of course, the version with the “u” can always be mistaken by some as a reference to a process for making natural rubber more durable. There’s no science to spelling, merely custom.

            00

    • #
      Peter Miller

      According an app I have, Sydney was at latitude 20 degrees north, longitude 210 degrees at the end of the Cambrian era.

      Kind of like facts in ‘climate science, just a guess that is difficult to refute, because it was so long ago or so far in the future

      40

    • #
      ROM

      sophocles @ #4

      Actually the evidence for a major as in “major” meteor impact in the antipodes of the 250 million year old Siberian Traps volcanic province has been found in Wilkes Land in Eastern Antarctica now obviously hidden under a couple of kilometres of ice.

      A couple of decades ago after an article in the New Scientist which I shortly after ceased subscribing to ,[ I got sick of the little green men theme that NS had turned to from being a superb science news mag ] on the Deccan Traps in India, in a letter to NS I pointed out the coincidence of the Chicxulub impact crater on the Yucatan Peninsula and the same era Deccan Traps volcanic eruptions almost directly opposite in longitude to the Chicxulub impact.

      I suggested that if there was already a volcanic anomaly in the Deccan Traps area in what is now central India when the Chicxulub impact occurred, the shock waves like those high speed photos of a bullet penetrating an egg and blowing the other side of the egg out long before the bullet reaches the egg shell opposite the point of the bullets entry then it was quite possible that the intense seismic shock waves speeding across the diameter of the planet from the Chicxulub impact were enough to trigger a major volcanic event on the opposite side of the planet.

      I then went on to suggest that a major impact crater would be found down near the Antarctic continent that would be both opposite, ie at the antipodes of the Siberian Traps and around the same age as the Siberian Traps.

      Needless to say I got an e-mail back along the lines, “Do you really want us to print this garbage?”

      Only a few months later it was announced that the Wilkes impact crater had been identified by American researchers using satellite radar under those kilometres of ice.
      *

      There is little point in me repeating what you can read in the links on both the Wilkes Land impact crater here which was around twice as large as the Chicxulub impact crater.
      And the Siberian Traps of the same proposed era as the Wilkes Land impact and the associated mass extinction event of the Permian / Triassic boundary ,[ P-Tr extinction ] the largest mass extinction out of the six known mass extinction events

      Mass Extinctions

      David Raup and Jack Sepkoski analyzed Sepkoski’s data on the fossil record (Chapter 5). They identified extinction events that seemed to be very large, large enough to be called mass extinctions (Figure 6.1). Six mass extinctions have been recognized in a nonquantitative way for decades, and they and others have been studied in some detail:
      At the end of the Ordovician
      At the end of the Frasnian stage of the Late Devonian (“F-F”)
      At the end of the Permian period, ? a double event (“P-Tr”)
      At the end of the Triassic period
      At the end of the Cretaceous period (“K-T”)
      These six mass extinctions are alike in some ways. They all represent the extinction of a significant component of global faunas and/or floras, and they are all relatively sudden in geological terms: that is, they occurred over a few million years at most, and in some cases much less than that.

      &
      THE PERMO-TRIASSIC (P-Tr) EXTINCTION
      The extinction at 250 Ma, the end of the Permian, is the largest of all time: the “Mother of Mass Extinctions” according to Douglas Erwin. The extinction was used by John Phillips 150 years ago to define the end of the Paleozoic Era and the beginning of the Mesozoic (Figure 5.8). An estimated 57% of all families and 95% of all species of marine animals became extinct. The Paleozoic Fauna was very hard hit, losing especially suspension feeders and carnivores, and almost all the reef dwellers. The Permo-Triassic (P-Tr) extinction is a major watershed in the history of life on Earth, especially for life in the ocean; the K-T extinction is small in comparison (Figure 5.11).
      The P-Tr extinction was rapid, probably taking place in less than a million years, and possibly much faster than that. Although it was much more severe in the ocean, it affected terrestrial ecosystems too. A prolific swamp flora in the Southern Hemisphere had been producing enough organic debris to form coals in Australia, but the coal beds stop abruptly at the P-Tr boundary. No coal was laid down anywhere in the world for at least 6 million years afterward. A large change in carbon isotopes occurred across the P-Tr boundary, which signifies an important and global drop in photosynthesis that lasted a long time.
      There is no evidence for an impact at the P-Tr boundary. The continental collisions that formed Pangea in the Permian would account for a major drop in diversity (Chapter 5) but not for a sudden, enormous mass extinction. Perhaps most important of all, the Permian extinction coincides with the largest known volcanic eruption in Earth history.
      &

      THE PERMO-TRIASSIC (P-Tr) EXTINCTION
      The extinction at 250 Ma, the end of the Permian, is the largest of all time: the “Mother of Mass Extinctions” according to Douglas Erwin. The extinction was used by John Phillips 150 years ago to define the end of the Paleozoic Era and the beginning of the Mesozoic (Figure 5.8). An estimated 57% of all families and 95% of all species of marine animals became extinct. The Paleozoic Fauna was very hard hit, losing especially suspension feeders and carnivores, and almost all the reef dwellers. The Permo-Triassic (P-Tr) extinction is a major watershed in the history of life on Earth, especially for life in the ocean; the K-T extinction is small in comparison (Figure 5.11).
      The P-Tr extinction was rapid, probably taking place in less than a million years, and possibly much faster than that. Although it was much more severe in the ocean, it affected terrestrial ecosystems too. A prolific swamp flora in the Southern Hemisphere had been producing enough organic debris to form coals in Australia, but the coal beds stop abruptly at the P-Tr boundary. No coal was laid down anywhere in the world for at least 6 million years afterward. A large change in carbon isotopes occurred across the P-Tr boundary, which signifies an important and global drop in photosynthesis that lasted a long time.
      There is no evidence for an impact at the P-Tr boundary. The continental collisions that formed Pangea in the Permian would account for a major drop in diversity (Chapter 5) but not for a sudden, enormous mass extinction. Perhaps most important of all, the Permian extinction coincides with the largest known volcanic eruption in Earth history.
      &

      Any explanation of the P-Tr event must account for the severity of the extinctions. The size of the P-Tr extinction is the largest in Earth history; but so is the size of the Siberian Traps eruption.
      *
      *
      And then we have this; the trangely co-incidental with the massive Siberian Traps million years long volcanic province eruptions and the P-Tr extinction event.

      BIG BANG IN ANTARCTICA — KILLER CRATER FOUND UNDER ICE

      Ancient mega-catastrophe paved way for the dinosaurs, spawned Australian continent

      COLUMBUS, Ohio — Planetary scientists have found evidence of a meteor impact much larger and earlier than the one that killed the dinosaurs — an impact that they believe caused the biggest mass extinction in Earth’s history.

      The 300-mile-wide crater lies hidden more than a mile beneath the East Antarctic Ice Sheet. And the gravity measurements that reveal its existence suggest that it could date back about 250 million years — the time of the Permian-Triassic extinction, when almost all animal life on Earth died out.

      Ralph von Frese
      Its size and location — in the Wilkes Land region of East Antarctica, south of Australia — also suggest that it could have begun the breakup of the Gondwana supercontinent by creating the tectonic rift that pushed Australia northward.

      Scientists believe that the Permian-Triassic extinction paved the way for the dinosaurs to rise to prominence. The Wilkes Land crater is more than twice the size of the Chicxulub crater in the Yucatan peninsula, which marks the impact that may have ultimately killed the dinosaurs 65 million years ago. The Chicxulub meteor is thought to have been 6 miles wide, while the Wilkes Land meteor could have been up to 30 miles wide — four or five times wider.

      [ More ]
      ____________________

      The eras of the massive impacts on the earth, Moon and solar system planets from the debris left over after the formation of the solar system is believed to be basically over. However there are numerous small almost planetary sized bodies far out of what we call the solar system in the OORT Cloud that is also in orbit around the Sun from which the combined gravitational effects of both the sun and the giant planets over aeons of time can and will deflect the orbits of some of that Oort cloud space debris back into wards the inner planetary orbits with consequences ata time and place for which we have no abilitiy to predict.

      [ quoted ]
      Planet-Like Body Discovered at Fringes of Our Solar System

      These three panels show the first detection of the faint distant object dubbed “Sedna.” Imaged on November 14th from 6:32 to 9:38 Universal Time, Sedna was identified by the slight shift in position noted in these three pictures taken at different times. Image courtesy: NASA/Caltech.
      &
      At an estimated size of three-fourths the size of Pluto, it is likely the largest object found in the solar system since Pluto was discovered in 1930.
      $
      The planetoid is usually even colder, because it approaches the Sun this closely only briefly during its 10,500 year orbit around the Sun. At its most distant, “Sedna” is 130 billion kilometers (84 billion miles) from the Sun. That is 900 times Earth’s distance from the Sun.

      30

      • #
        sophocles

        The Wilkes Land crater is a possible candidate. At that time, all the land masses were grouped together in the Pangaea supercontinent (about 250-200 MYa) and all in more or less the same hemisphere. Antarctica was at quite high latitudes to the south.

        What became Australia was at even higher latitudes, south of Antarctica. Another candidate is the Bedout structure in the Canning Basin off the Western Australian coast (scroll about halfway down the linked page).

        Depending on angle of impact, either could be the Siberian Traps smoking gun. It could even be both!
        The Traps form a huge area as shown in the linked Wikipedia map. and the Permian extinction was one of the biggest known. The volcanic activity lasted about 1 million years. I haven’t seen anything which suggests it may have had two big bursts of activity as it would have had if both had been involved and impacts were staggered. We may never know.

        10

        • #
          ROM

          Thanks for that impact map, sophocles.

          And the double impact possibility and / or the possibility of multiple impacts all from a similar space body source over a whole range of impact events just doesn’t seem to have ever been considered or followed up in the [relatively limited ] reading I’ve done on the subject

          10

          • #
            sophocles

            I point you at NASA’s pictures of the Shoemaker Levy 9, May 1994 … pieces … splashing down on Jupiter. “Spectacular” is too mild! That reminded me of the possibility. The impact plume of one collision rose above Jupiter’s atmosphere! Google has a great library of images from that (search: shoemaker levy 9 images ).

            If a large comet does that—disintegrates on close approach—then why would Shoemaker-Levy be an isolated incident? Why should it only happen to Jupiter? We’ve found some of the … smoking holes!… but I bet we haven’t found them all. I have read somewhere about a possible subducted crater to the north(?) of Australia as being another possible candidate, but have not had time to follow up on that.

            We’ve got a crater or craters to find. :-)

            00

      • #

        At least you got a reply, ROM.

        I read an article on a fossil find of a species of dinosaur that was similar to another but had much thinner bones. I sent an email suggesting that it might be an immature animal of the same species but got no reply.

        I suggested that like birds, the young grew rapidly at the expense of full organ development to look as big as an adult as soon as possible. This would be great if there were many other adults around but not so good if the population was drastically reduced. It could also explain why scales being fluffy could be advantageous to a young dinosaur as well as thinner bones and through neoteny, kept by adults that evolved into birds.*

        This turns out to not be such a new idea but not widely accepted. At least I didn’t get a nasty reply back.

        *I still dislike the non-avian dinosaur name.

        00

        • #
          sophocles

          You may never know the effect some suggestions may have. I read, a few years ago, some speculation about the growth of juvenile T-Rex’s which exactly parallels what you’re saying. There was no attribution but, as I’ve said, you never know if you’ve been heard!

          Don’t stop trying! :-)

          00

          • #

            I just did a search on the topic and it started about the same time that I sent the email (2009), although the authors would have thought about it for a while before publishing. I don’t think that I inspired anything but there was another more recent paper I found interesting. Here is a summary of it.

            I suggested in my email that an analysis of something like ratios of cranial volume to femur length might show that dinosaurs and birds differ from reptiles and mammals. That the size of the dinosaurs and birds increases with the brain catching up at adult hood, reptiles almost constant and with the mammals, the body catching up to the head. It was wrong but it looks like it wasn’t a bad suggestion for something to explore.

            00

  • #
    Paul in Sweden

    Plate-tectonics, continental drift the effects of all the other super volcanoes we are aware occurred on the various changing super-continent(s). There is a lot to consider.

    20

  • #
    PhilJourdan

    For us “A-muri-cans” just use the Yellowstone Caldera as an example (I think it might be a tad smaller than the size you describe, but still covers most of the western US).

    And for the Europeans, the Russian Steppes. Now that one was supposed to be what killed off the first wave of dinosaurs. So it was probably as big (although technically not a volcano, just lava vents that would not shut up).

    Impressive! But all 3 (Yellowstone, the Steppes, and Australia’s contribution) demonstrate something that is lost in the climate debate. The amount of crap life can take on this planet and still survive. Maybe not the kangaroo shrew, but life does.

    80

    • #
      James the Elder

      Left out the Deccan Traps in India. Medicine Lake and Long Valley are two big’uns in California. If either of those two or Yellowstone (overdue) let go, this country grinds to a halt for a long time.

      20

  • #
    diogenese2

    Jo: I share your love of the “big picture” and your awe at the creative power of science and technology to look back at the history of the earth. Sometimes I am inclined to believe that nothing significant has happened for the last 60m years.
    However, much as I admire the superb brilliance of this work, sometimes I am astonished at the sheer chutzpah.
    “precisely measure the age of the eruptions” when their image is marked “+/- 6m years!”. “we have created a near perfect chronological correlation ….. over the last 550m years”.
    “IS THAT A FACT!”. Spoken in a Glaswegian accent that is the definative linguistic expression of scepticism.
    Moving forward, the minimum time period attributed to the Deccan Traps eruption in the Cretaceous was 30k years. Just what is the ability of the biosphere to adapt on such timescales? We have so little grasp of the nature of these eras – the paleozoic really was a different world , and the references to the present understandable, but absurd.
    However – give them the funds! I want to know history of this planet, of how we come to be here arguing and fighting over trivialities. I don’t how old Dr.Jourdan and his team are, but by the time they are my age they will have eaten crow a few times, but what ever they are doing – don’t stop.
    The designation ” Kalkarindji blackfella explosive breccia” has such fertile resonances alone makes this post historic.

    80

  • #
    Evgueni

    Jo, sorry to mention, but there is a mistake:
    “510,000,000 million years” is 510 quadrillion years :)

    REPLY: Did I say that? Oh, I did. :- ( Oops. Fixed! – Thanks – Jo.

    50

    • #
      Truthseeker

      Evgueni

      Actually “510,000,000 million years” is 510 billion years.

      Correct counting …

      1,000,000 = 1 million
      1,000,000,000 = 1 thousand million
      1,000,000,000,000 = 1 billion
      1,000,000,000,000,000 = 1 thousand billion
      1,000,000,000,000,000,000 = 1 trillion
      1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 = 1 thousand trillion
      1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 = 1 quadrillion

      Wrong (US) counting …

      1,000,000 = 1 million
      1,000,000,000 = 1 billion
      1,000,000,000,000 = 1 trillion
      1,000,000,000,000,000 = 1 quadrillion

      31

      • #
        gesta non verba

        Those damn Arabs,if they hadn’t given us the zero none of this would be a problem.

        30

        • #
          David

          Zero actually came from India and what we call Arabic numerals are actually of Indian origin.

          40

      • #
        The Backslider

        1,000,000,000,000 = 1 billion…… Wrong (US) counting … 1,000,000,000 = 1 billion

        C’mon man, how do you ever expect me to become a billionaire if I follow your counting?

        30

      • #

        1,000,000,000 = 1 thousand million

        which is also called a milliard.

        The French revolutionaries dropped the “milliard”; perhaps because it didn’t rhyme with million, billion and trillion. The fledgling USA, averse to the “British” system and royal families (except the ones that they were creating) took on the numbering system of “fellow” revolutionaries in France. Shortly thereafter, the French realized that their idea was quite daft and reverted to the previous system including the milliard.

        While the English-spanking world readily adopted the erroneous US numbering system following WW2, the decimalization of £/s/d currencies and big money trading, the other European languages hung onto the milliard. So one must be wary of the difference when interpreting numbers for such countries. Their “billion” is as big as a US “trillion”.

        As early as the mid-1980′s, my financial adviser was unable to tell me if the funds managed by the company for which he was spruiking was reporting investments in US “billions” or European “billions”. Evidently; the bigger the number; the lower the value. ;-)

        30

        • #

          You have to wonder if ever a GFC was caused by this.

          00

          • #
            KinkyKeith

            Hi Vic

            Having “lost”, or had stolen, the savings of many working years of my life in the “GFC” I think it was mainly due to the failure of Governments to oversee and regulate the operations of the financial system.

            Theft and abuse of voters on a massive scale.

            When Australians can invest in apparently secure investments dressed up to resemble something solid and real and later find out there is no actual substance to the investment we have Government sponsored theft.

            Many Australia local government bodies lost money this way.

            Average investors like myself lost in shares which were buffeted by the whole mess and by counties devaluing against our currency

            Not happy with government regulation.

            KK

            10

        • #
          Ted O'Brien.

          I have for years been fascinated by the ability of younger generations to comprehend the mixed measures that I still haven’t found it necessary to abandon. Even though the only problem with the metric system is that we ever had another one.

          But it is also interesting to have noticed that for many years now nobody ever admits to knowing about pounds, shillings and pence.

          I don’t wonder why.

          00

  • #

    ” the first extinction to wipe out complex multicellular life.”

    OK, so that doesn’t rule out hockey sticks etched onto Australian cave walls. It’s worth a look.

    30

  • #
    Roy Hogue

    A Curtin University researcher has shown that ancient volcanic eruptions in Australia 510 million years ago significantly affected the climate, causing the first known mass extinction in the history of complex life.

    After seeing just the evidence of ancient volcanic activity in the Southern California Mojave Desert between Los Angeles and the Arizona border I have no trouble believing that volcanic activity could have been as extensive as claimed.

    The effect of it on climate and living things is a bit more of a stretch though. Even the dating of it can’t be all that accurate after so many millions of years. And a lot would depend on how fast the event(s) happened. I may be wrong but I’m doubtful that such a large area would be active all at once.

    Stuff like this should be required to have an independent assessment of the probability that it’s correct in all its significant details. Wouldn’t that put a damper on climate change mania? ;-)

    Of course the independent assessment could become as corrupt as climate change. So I suspect we all continue to make our own personal assessment.

    70

  • #
    Leon

    Seems I recall a report in Principia Scientific that NASA satellites had found a COOLING effect by CO2 in the thermosphere, by facilitation of solar reflectivity?

    10

  • #
    Dave Broad

    The Taupo caldera is approx. 260 kms from my house. Yet it’s built on top of a 10 metre “Taupo” sand dune, which extends for kilometres. It runs parallel to the ocean. It was delivered during the last major eruption about 1900 years ago. The tiny pumice fragments smell like gunpowder when you crush them between your fingers. The process that directly caused these dunes is not 100% understood yet, but the energy must have been enormous. As it would have had to travel via the ocean, where it mixed with non volcanic particles.

    40

  • #
    ianl8888

    A (admittedly rare) vote of thanks, Jo Nova … next up, the Siberian Traps :)

    Then the super volcano in the north island of NZ, then the active alpine fault running through the south island of NZ, then …

    Followed by the very active northern edge of the Australian plate busy shoving its’ way under the Indonesian archipelago …

    All this activity, as disruptive and lethal as it is, causes the planet to live as compared to, say, a dead Mars

    80

    • #
      john karajas

      Correct weight Ian, the Lake Taupo super volcano in the North Island of NZ had a whopper of an eruption around about 640 AD if memory serves me correctly. It would have made Pinatubo and Krakatoa like piddlers. Let’s not forget the huge eruption in Sumatra about 75,000 years ago.

      30

  • #
    Yonniestone

    Careful Jo the warmists will plagiarise David Evans and concoct a “Co2 notch” to support their ramblings.

    A notch of frankenstein if you will.

    20

  • #

    A vast volcanic caldera covering this huge region of Australia.

    Hmm!

    I wonder how many Hiroshima bombs that worked out to!!!

    Tony.

    30

    • #
      Safetyguy66

      I believe the MSM’s current preferred unit of measurement is the elephant.

      20

    • #
      sophocles

      Mt St. Helens in the USA had a rumble in May 1980. On the VEI ( Volcano Explosivity Index ) it rated a 4 with about a cubic kilometer of ejecta. A supervolcano would rate an 8 with 1,000 cubic kilometers of magma output, or more.

      Mt St Helen’s was rated at 500 Hiroshima Bombs.

      The Supervolcano could be about 500,000 Hiroshima bombs if we applied the logarithmic progression of the VEI to our bombs! (VEI rises an order of magnitude, or x 10, for each increment in the Index over 1.) I guess that’s looking at a really good-sized “glass the nation” fusion bomb … :-) but not quite a planet buster.

      10

      • #
        ROM

        The Hiroshima bomb yield is rated at about 15 kilotonnes of TNT ie 15 Kt yield
        The Nagasaki Bomb was rated at 21 Kt yield.

        The Soviets hydrogen fusion “Tsar Bomba” or “Big Ivan” , the biggest bomb ever but scaled down from an estimated 100 Mt yield, was air dropped and exploded over the Nova Zemblaya testing grounds in Oct 1961.
        It had a yield of 51 Mega tonnes or around 3400 times the yield of the Hiroshima bomb.

        The Soviets noticed as well as the Fins when atmospheric channeling of the blast blew out windows a thousand kilometres away in Finland.

        Did we notice. No! But it did frighten the hell out of the Politburo and the Soviet military as well as the Americans so nobody ever tried to go for a bigger bang although they all had the hydrogen fusion technology to do so.

        Maybe somebody might like to do the energy comparisons between the Tsar Bomba and Mt St Hellens

        10

        • #
          sophocles

          The Americans had their own scare!

          I think it was Castle Bravo, and it was about a third the size of Tsar Bomba. It delivered a yield of about 15MegaTonnes, which was … significantly … more than the expected yield of about 6 MegaTonnes.

          Oops!

          10

  • #

    This theory is not dissimilar to some explanations of another mass extinction event – the end of the dinosaurs 65 million years ago. A contributing factor could have been from the Deccan Traps, where volcanic activity (from 68 to 60 million BP) resulted in the creation of over 500,000 cubic kilometers of basalt – compared with about 1 cubic kilometer from Mount St Helena in 1980.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deccan_Traps
    The total extent was likely “only” to have been 1,500,000 km^2. the major climatic effect would have been one of global cooling, with reduction in light also occurring.

    60

  • #
    Dave N

    “And some people today think we are facing a “crisis” today?”

    The issue being that those people think that something can be done about it, in a manner that makes us all suffer, and for no good reason.

    30

  • #
    TdeF

    Being an alarmist means never having to say sorry. So instead of being wrong about rapid CO2 driven global warming which we all know was absolutely right at time, there are now other equally important and unprovable and unmeasurable and worrying effects which cancel it out replacing imminent disaster with terrible uncertainty as nothing changes. Be very afraid. This twisted logic allows our official government expert and guru Tim Flannery to suggest the drought is not over, but that we simply have a wet period in the middle of a continuing long and terrible drought. That is so obviously true. A friend states that flooding rains are guaranteed at the end of every drought and that another drought will surely follow. With such science wisdom, we finally have understanding. Donate now.

    60

    • #
      Safetyguy66

      Spot on TdeF. The perceived moral high ground of alarmism means its ok to lie cheat and steal because its all for the “greater good”.

      40

  • #

    I’d speculate that this gave the trilobites a kick along. They certainly diversified and persisted for a long period after this event.

    40

    • #
      Peter C

      A horseshoe crab looks a bit like a trilobite. I think that they might still be here, having diversified.

      00

      • #

        Both are arthropods but trilobites have a totally different body plan and the separate lineages of the two are well defined. There is controversy over which other major group (horseshoe crabs form a major group) of extant arthropods is closest to trilobites but it is clear and not at all controversial that no group is derived from later trilobite forms. Since so many groups were formed and begun diverging within a small time frame a long time ago the sister relationships among the subphyla are uncertain. HSCrabs might be sister to trilobites but probably not as other groups are posited to be sister phyla based on shared characteristics.

        10

  • #
    Safetyguy66

    You’ve touched on an interesting point Jo.

    One can only wonder how many genuine scientists are out there with perfectly sensible hypothesis that they have put a lot of work into. Some of them must be thinking “its hard to release my work at this time given the climate modellers will be all over me saying Im a denier for not blaming everything on CO2″.

    Clearly the so called “consensus” would be pressuring otherwise thoughtful research because any scientist with an original idea has to stick their head above the AGW parapet to get heard and that involves risk of ridicule.

    We can only wonder how much good research is sitting in drawers waiting for the science community to remember what the hell it stands for.

    60

  • #
    ROM

    In the UK today the Greens are increasingly being referred to as the “Green Blob” in a number of recent blog posts and in senior political circles;

    ie; UK SHALE CHALLENGE & THE GREEN BLOB
    The debate about the exploitation of shale gas should be seen in the context of what the former environment secretary, Owen Paterson, has described as the fight against the “green blob”. Echoing Michael Gove’s battles with the anti-reform “education blob”, Mr Paterson believes that certain environmental campaigners have become absolutist in their opposition to change.
    They object to river dredging, putting wildlife habitats before the protection of communities from flooding. They oppose agricultural technologies, even though innovations such as GM crops could deliver cheaper and more nutritious food to the poorest people across the globe. In Britain the “green blob” opposes all green field development for desperately needed new social housing even when many green fields are of dubious environmental merit.

    __________________

    Despite the fact that all of life has it’s origins back in eras far beyond that of the Tribolites and the Green Scum of the bacterial mats, I have a strong suspicion that the Green Scum of the bacterial mats has changed form over the aeons past to a point where today, it resembles anthropoid life forms which are now called the “Greens” or Greenpeace and etc .

    Sadly despite their now anthropoid life forms, the “Green’s” intelligence levels have apparently never advanced beyond the intelligence levels of those Green Scum predominant days of 500 / 600 million years ago, hence, as the UK politicians have noted, we have entered the era of the bacterial mat, green scum intelligence equivalents, the “Green Blob” life forms now formally identified as “Greens” , Greenpeace, WWF, Sierra Club and etc and etc.

    80

    • #
      DT

      The Green Blob is a native of Tasmania. Opened up the inside is red.

      20

      • #
        David

        I thought the likes of Brown and Milne were imports from the mainland and like many imported species devastated the local fauna. A bit like that “colourful” new senator. Stand to be corrected.

        10

  • #
    King Geo

    Well said Rom – I too prefer “Green Scum” to “Green Blob”. Talking about the “era of the bacterial mat” – that reminds me of the current day Shark Bay stromatolites – they are algal mats (blue-green algae that bind the sediment) – they are protected from predation by various marine species because of the very high salinity in Hamelin Pool,Shark Bay. In lower salinity settings they can’t survive. Now is there a message there on how to deal with the “Green Scum”?

    31

  • #
    ROM

    King Geo @ # 22

    Despite all our flack and apparent contempt for politicians they are after all, in the very public positions they occupy, [ from choice so they have to wear it ] highly vulnerable to deliberate mis-interpretation and deliberate and very nasty and deliberately implied obfuscation of their comments, statements and intents, good or otherwise.

    So I suspect that those UK politicals would have dearly liked to call it as they saw it, that “Green Scum”

    But being politicians and vulnerable to deliberate mis-interpretation they opted for the rough corner smooth off of “Scum” to come up with the politically safer sounding “Blobs” to describe the Greens but still imply their correct and scathing opinions of the Greens and their activist destruction of societal advancement that the “Green Blob” aka “scum “ continues to pursue.

    31

  • #
    ATheoK

    All right, the researchers have identified portions of an extinct volcano.

    At least a few of the volcano’s eruptions were massive.

    After that distinct success in science the researchers fall back into CAGW anti-science;
    heap big warming
    heap big cold
    heap big changes…

    Basically these researchers do not know one frigging thing beyond the hard science. CO2, sulfates and sulfites large ash clouds are all possibles maybe even likelies, but is speculation until there is solid observational proof; otherwise they’re drinking CAGW Kool-Aid.

    20

  • #
    MadJak

    Do Any of the Geologists here have much to say about this one?

    I am reserving any judgement (unlike the author of this article claiming it’s due to methane venting)

    00

    • #
      ianl8888


      Do Any of the Geologists here have much to say about this one?

      Not until hard, forensic geological evidence is available

      About the most difficult task one can undertake is the aquisition of complete, reliable data. It costs a heap to aquire in blood, sweat, tears and treasure so those who do have it are extremely reluctant to share it, or at any rate all of it

      If you’ve never actually done this, it’s hard to understand the difficulty when uninformed speculation is so easy. The MSM indulge the latter constantly

      30

      • #
        Peter C

        It is a hole in the ground. That is all we know.
        But that did not stop Dr Box issuing his shrill cry of alarm! Methane Released, Climate Change Happening Now before our very eyes. Say your prays everyone, because the end is nigh.

        Who remembers this:

        Published in The Canadian
        Jan 08 2007
        Over 4.5 Billion people could die from Global Warming-related causes by 2012
        Hydrate hypothesis illuminates growing climate change alarm
        Compiled by John Stokes
        A recent scientific theory called the “hydrate hypothesis” says that historical global warming cycles have been caused by a feedback loop, where melting permafrost methane clathrates (also known as “hydrates”) spur local global warming, leading to further melting of clathrates and bacterial growth.
        In other words, like western Siberia, the 400 billion tons of methane in permafrost hydrate will gradually melt, and the released methane will speed the melting. The effect of even a couple of billion tons of methane being emitted into the atmosphere each year would be catastrophic.
        The “hydrate hypothesis” (if validated) spells the rapid onset of runaway catastrophic global warming. In fact, you should remember this moment when you learned about this feedback loop-it is an existencial turning point in your life. ….

        It goes on. The original article has been taken down now, although it was still on the Canadian Newspaper website in 2013. I took a copy.

        00

    • #
      PhilJourdan

      It is a pingo, not a methane blow hole. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pingo

      00

    • #
      sophocles

      Anthony Watts discussed this on Wattsupwiththat. It’s a pingo and it’s not a large as it seems to be, nor as scary as it’s made out to be.

      It’s caused by melting ice, not exploding methane. Don’t forget, it’s high summer on the Yamal Peninsular at the moment.

      20

  • #
    Graeme No.3

    Madjak:

    There is no doubt that someone is venting. Standard CAGW – we don’t know what caused this but combined with some non-facts we claim it is “proof” it is global warming and we are all doomed.

    I note that the declining ice of the last few years is allowing solar warming. Silly me, I thought that the ice cover has been increasing for the last 6 years, but I suppose facts are what you make up.

    30

  • #
    handjive

    El Niño UPDATE:

    El Nino prediction revised down to 50 per cent chance by Bureau of Meteorology

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-07-30/el-nino-revised-down/5635202
    . . . .
    November 18, 2013
    Fiercer El Nino weather ahead
    http://www.theage.com.au/environment/weather/fiercer-el-nino-weather-ahead-20131118-2xrg5.html

    MAY 08, 2014
    El Niño has been forecast to return in 2014 and it could be a big one

    The Bureau of Meteorology has said the probability of this weather event happening again stands at 70 per cent and could loom as early as July.

    http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/technology/el-nio-has-been-forecast-to-return-in-2014-and-it-could-be-a-big-one/story-fnjww4q8-1226910244082

    WMO: 80% chance of El Niño by December 2014
    http://www.rtcc.org/2014/06/26/wmo-80-chance-of-el-nino-by-december-2014/
    . . .
    We can safely call that a failure.
    Now, is anyone accountable?

    40

    • #
      Safetyguy66

      I want to know how you get a gig predicting 50/50 chances for a living?

      I mean seriously, how much funding is required to write a 300 page report concluding that “your guess is as good as mine”.

      Clearly meteorology and climatology are emerging as the entertainment branch of science.

      40

    • #
      Yonniestone

      So in a normal year it’s a 25% chance of an El Nino meaning we get one every 4 years?, I know they occur almost every year in the ENSO cycle and warmists are trying to link any natural warming to extreme weather events, apparently storms in cooler weather are more frequent due to unseasonal warm weather so I guess they have it pretty well sewn up.

      I am getting tired of these fools and I hope the rest of the world is too.

      30

    • #
      Glen Michel

      On top of BoM s above average (70%) wetter spring 2013 for East Australia. Prognostications…… Bird entrails.There be gremlins about I say!

      30

    • #
      sophocles

      Now, is anyone accountable?

      All the Pacific Basin submarine volcanoes which failed to deliver?
      :-)

      00

  • #
    thingadonta

    Those pesky currents in the mantle.

    Fooled Einstein (didn’t like the idea of continental drift at all), Wegener (but only partly, didn’t come up with the idea of floating plates, he thought the continents were stationed to the mantle underneath), most geophysicists in the early 20th century, Darwin (thought the same fossil species across continents could be explained entirely by migration, even ones that couldn’t fly or swim; never really thought about it hard enough), Wallace (also thought land didn’t move, animals and plants did), Alvarez (didn’t like the idea that volcanos contribute or cause mass extinctions) and others.

    People just don’t like the idea that random currents deep beneath our feet that are almost impossible to detect or measure have so much influence. (Shades of the PDO?).

    And we still don’t really know what causes major mantle plumes to start erupting in the first place.

    50

  • #
    Bulldust

    O/T but I see Maurice Newman is slamming green ideology dreams again at The Oz:

    http://www.theaustralian.com.au/opinion/california-dreaming-is-nuts-in-nsw/story-e6frg6zo-1227006323188

    It’s a hard hitting piece, hopefully the messga eis starting to come through a tad clearer.

    30

  • #
    scaper...

    So, that explains what happened to the inland sea? Yellowstone is overdue to erupt.

    10

  • #
    Wayne Job

    Had a think about this stuff years ago, there may have been hundreds of these events over the aeons, by now many would have been sub ducted or under water that was once above water or occurred under water. Many of these could have occurred at the same time causing massive disruption to life. Dating large meteor strikes to extinction events has been sciences endeavour but may be only half the story, a big whack on the earths crust would cause serious problems on the fault lines, a double whammy so to speak. researching the supposed dates of all these events, may give a better insight as to what actually occurred in the distant past.

    10

  • #
    mark

    Geology is one mind bending experience. Bumblin around in my 4wd up on the Howitt Plains resemble country around Surat that I KNOW was under water…including what I was looking for another 5000ft down. Time is what is boggling, we think in years and lifetimes and doesn’t even register on the geological timeline. I used to play with mud and water as a kid…dreaming of building dams. I used to marvel at how a small stream would drop the mud as it got to a deeper part of the puddle. It would fan out and get bigger. Little did I know then that I was looking at exactly the mechanism that built river deltas.

    We are puny to believe that our actions can even hint at changing the climate. A climate that has gone from anoxic to 35%O2 and back to near zero. So much so that when the nastiest of algae…cyanobacteria caused an explosion of O2 it not only killed off most of the anoxic organisms but plunged the planet into the deepest of all iceages. Time is all. As our continent floated over a hotspot that formed among other peaks, The Glasshouse Mountains and the Warrambungles. More than likely also formed the volcanic precinct on the western plains of Victoria. All it takes is time…at 2cm a year. That 2cm a year is the slowest of slow train wrecks that will push up New Guinea to maybe one day to be as high as the Himilayas. Makes you feel insignificant in the scheme of things.

    30

  • #
    DaveW

    Dear Jo,
    I’m not sure why you posted this article from the Washington Post, but if you were trying to demonstrate that you should never believe anything you read in a newspaper (including the WaPo), then I think you have made you case. I’m sure you noted that the author, “Terrence McCoy is a foreign affairs writer at the Washington Post. He served in the U.S. Peace Corps in Cambodia and studied international politics at Columbia University.” is not a scientist and has no apparent interest in science. I’m sure you also noted that the claims in the article go way beyond the published abstract (and no, I’m not going to read an article by 10 authors from 10 different institutions that may or may not make wild claims about what they can infer about an apparent relatively minor [it occurred within the Devonian - generally a mass extinction causes a shift to a new period name reflecting the new fossils, e.g. the shift from the Devonian to the Ordovician] extinction event in the poorly resolved strata of 510 million years ago). Trilobites (which are not a species, but a large radiation of many species) may or may not have had a hard time in the mid-Devonian, but the fossils that we know of persisted well into the Permian. The citation of and link to another garbage WaPo article claiming that the end Permian extinctions may have been caused by a microbe are even more ludicrous – and again posted by an non-scientist: “Fred Barbash, the editor of Morning Mix, is a former National Editor and London Bureau Chief for the Washington Post.”

    This WaPo article is all about science as entertainment and nothing about understanding the history of the earth. Sad thing is, I would have read this paper with interest before being exposed to the press release. Now I would have a hard time believing anything the authors had to offer.

    41

    • #
      ianl8888

      The mapping and dating are good geology

      Attempting to suggest that today’s anthropogenic CO2 emissions are equivalent to the CO2/SO2 emissions from this volcanic event is the tabloid stuff – which one should simply ignore as easily as an SMH editorial

      31

    • #
      PeterS

      I agree DaveW. Besides, it’s all supposition upon assumptions upon vague interpretations of evidence that is so old and no one was there to witness the events. Good story though. Might be the basis for a time travel science fiction movie one day.

      00

  • #
    old44

    it’s obvious that the cooling dominated until the invention of the LandRover in 1948, then the SUV’s changed the climate to warming.

    10

  • #
    theRealUniverse

    More potential junk science…irrelevant as there is no GHG effect in the first place. But interesting geologically though. Lets get real..trying to get climate data at any fine resolution at this epoch is impossible. NEXT…

    10

  • #
    nfw

    Oh no, no Carbon (dioxide – plant food) tax) to make us the world’s laughing stock and now this. Mass extinction. Quick let’s have another tax and apologise.

    01