The Western Lines

November 26, 2009

The Day the Earth Nearly Died

Today we live in a world teeming with life but, some two hundred and fifty million years ago that nearly change and life on earth was very nearly wiped out.

The evidence of this event takes us to Siberia in a region known as the Traps. Today it’s a sub-Arctic wilderness but 250 million years ago, over two hundred thousand square kilometres of it was a blazing torrent of lava. The Siberian Traps were experiencing a ‘flood basalt eruption’, the biggest volcanic effect on Earth. Instead of isolated volcanoes spewing out lava, the crust split and curtains of lava were released. And the Siberian flood eruption lasted for millions of years. Could volcanic activity over such a long time alter the climate enough to kill off ninety five percent of life on Earth?

The Day The Earth Nearly Died
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