In a new discovery, scientists have shed light on major volcanic eruptions that occurred millions of years ago and the cause behind them. The new research published in the journal Science Advances says that a slowing of continental plate movement was the critical event that enabled magma to rise to the Earth’s surface and deliver the devastating knock-on impacts.
The research suggests a slowing of continental plate movement was the critical event that enabled magma to rise to the Earth’s surface and deliver the devastating knock-on impacts, reported ANI.
Earth’s history has been marked by major volcanic events, called Large Igneous Provinces (LIPs) – the largest of which have caused major increases in atmospheric carbon emissions that warmed Earth’s climate, drove unprecedented changes to ecosystems and resulted in mass extinctions on land and in the oceans.
Using chemical data from ancient mudstone deposits obtained from a 1.5 km-deep borehole in Wales, an international team led by scientists from Trinity College Dublin’s School of Natural Sciences was able to link two key events from around 183 million years ago (the Toarcian period) .
The team discovered that this time period, which was characterized by some of the most severe climatic and environmental changes ever, directly coincided with the occurrence of major volcanic activity and associated greenhouse gas release in the southern hemisphere, in what is nowadays known as the southern Africa, Antarctica and Australia.
On further investigation, and more importantly, the team’s plate reconstruction models helped them discover the key fundamental geological process that seemed to control the timing and onset of this volcanic event and others of great magnitude.