Giant mass extinction may have been quicker than previously thought – carbon dioxide blamed

From the Massachusetts Institute of Technology , another “carbon as planet killer” scenario.

MIT researchers find that the end-Permian extinction happened in 60,000 years — much faster than earlier estimates

The largest mass extinction in the history of animal life occurred some 252 million years ago, wiping out more than 96 percent of marine species and 70 percent of life on land — including the largest insects known to have inhabited the Earth. Multiple theories have aimed to explain the cause of what’s now known as the end-Permian extinction, including an asteroid impact, massive volcanic eruptions, or a cataclysmic cascade of environmental events. But pinpointing the cause of the extinction requires better measurements of how long the extinction period lasted.

Now researchers at MIT have determined that the end-Permian extinction occurred over 60,000 years, give or take 48,000 years — practically instantaneous, from a geologic perspective. The new timescale is based on more precise dating techniques, and indicates that the most severe extinction in history may have happened more than 10 times faster than scientists had previously thought.

“We’ve got the extinction nailed in absolute time and duration,” says Sam Bowring, the Robert R. Shrock Professor of Earth and Planetary Sciences at MIT. “How do you kill 96 percent of everything that lived in the oceans in tens of thousands of years? It could be that an exceptional extinction requires an exceptional explanation.”

In addition to establishing the extinction’s duration, Bowring, graduate student Seth Burgess, and a colleague from the Nanjing Institute of Geology and Paleontology also found that, 10,000 years before the die-off, the oceans experienced a pulse of light carbon, which likely reflects a massive addition of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere. This dramatic change may have led to widespread ocean acidification and increased sea temperatures by 10 degrees Celsius or more, killing the majority of sea life.

But what originally triggered the spike in carbon dioxide? The leading theory among geologists and paleontologists has to do with widespread, long-lasting volcanic eruptions from the Siberian Traps, a region of Russia whose steplike hills are a result of repeated eruptions of magma. To determine whether eruptions from the Siberian Traps triggered a massive increase in oceanic carbon dioxide, Burgess and Bowring are using similar dating techniques to establish a timescale for the Permian period’s volcanic eruptions that are estimated to have covered over five million cubic kilometers.

“It is clear that whatever triggered extinction must have acted very quickly,” says Burgess, the lead author of a paper that reports the results in this week’s Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, “fast enough to destabilize the biosphere before the majority of plant and animal life had time to adapt in an effort to survive.”

Pinning dates on an extinction

In 2006, Bowring and his students made a trip to Meishan, China, a region whose rock formations bear evidence of the end-Permian extinction; geochronologists and paleontologists have flocked to the area to look for clues in its layers of sedimentary rock. In particular, scientists have focused on a section of rock that is thought to delineate the end of the Permian, and the beginning of the Triassic, based on evidence such as the number of fossils found in surrounding rock layers.

Bowring sampled rocks from this area, as well as from nearby alternating layers of volcanic ash beds and fossil-bearing rocks. After analyzing the rocks in the lab, his team reported in 2011 that the end-Permian likely lasted less than 200,000 years. However, this timeframe still wasn’t precise enough to draw any conclusions about what caused the extinction.

Now, the team has revised its estimates using more accurate dating techniques based on a better understanding of uncertainties in timescale measurements.

With this knowledge, Bowring and his colleagues reanalyzed rock samples collected from five volcanic ash beds at the Permian-Triassic boundary. The researchers pulverized rocks and separated out tiny zircon crystals containing a mix of uranium and lead. They then isolated uranium from lead, and measured the ratios of both isotopes to determine the age of each rock sample.

From their measurements, the researchers determined a much more precise “age model” for the end-Permian extinction, which now appears to have lasted about 60,000 years — with an uncertainty of 48,000 years — and was immediately preceded by a sharp increase in carbon dioxide in the oceans.

‘Spiraling toward the truth’

The new timeline adds weight to the theory that the extinction was triggered by massive volcanic eruptions from the Siberian Traps that released volatile chemicals, including carbon dioxide, into the atmosphere and oceans. With such a short extinction timeline, Bowring says it is possible that a single, catastrophic pulse of magmatic activity triggered an almost instantaneous collapse of all global ecosystems.

To confirm whether the Siberian Traps are indeed the extinction’s smoking gun, Burgess and Bowring plan to determine an equally precise timeline for the Siberian Traps eruptions, and will compare it to the new extinction timeline to see where the two events overlap. The researchers will investigate additional areas in China to see if the duration of the extinction can be even more precisely determined.

“We’ve refined our approach, and now we have higher accuracy and precision,” Bowring says. “You can think of it as slowly spiraling in toward the truth.”

###
About these ads

165 thoughts on “Giant mass extinction may have been quicker than previously thought – carbon dioxide blamed

  1. “released volatile chemicals, including carbon dioxide”

    Yeah- ignore all of that sulfur dioxide and hydrogen sulfide and hydrogen chloride and hydrogen fluoride.

    It was the increase in CO2 that did the trick. Obviously.

  2. “How do you kill 96 percent of everything that lived in the oceans in tens of thousands of years? It could be that an exceptional extinction requires an exceptional explanation.”

    Maybe an exceptional explanation requires an exceptional scientist?

  3. Much more likely is that the tons of sulfur oxides released by rampant vulcanism not only caused a nuclear winter, due to sulfur aerosols acting to block solar energy inout, but also acidified the oceans. Sulfur oxides form sulfurous and sulfuric acid, the latter being a very strong acid. CO2, on the other hand, forms carbonic acid which is a very weak acid. It will have little effect on sea water. This is perfectly clear when it is considered that the Cliffs of Dover were built by marine organisms growing happily under much higher CO2 concentrations than now. That’s a lot of limestone for organisms that are supposed to be dying. Rather CO2 is food to photo synthesizing organisms and they long ago evolved the ability to handle slight changes in pH carbonic acid might offer.

    The warmists put little value in the physiological power of living organisms to withstand and thrive in their environments. If marine life was as delicate as they would have it all such life would have died eons ago. Instead, most of it is still here.

    ANd, for that matter, it should not go unmentioned that no gas of any kind at any concentration in the atmosphere can heat Earth’s surface as the warmists claim. “Greenhouse” gases simply do not exist as their claimed behavior violates the basic laws of thermodynamics.

  4. If volcanic eruptions can be strong enough to eliminate 96% of marine species and 70% of life on land, why do climate models place so little emphasis on them?

  5. “With such a short extinction timeline, Bowring says it is possible that a single, catastrophic pulse of magmatic activity triggered an almost instantaneous collapse of all global ecosystems.”

    Only a crazed person could claim 12,000 to 108,000 years was “almost instantaneous.”

  6. Naturally CO2 is fingered as the bad guy. Never mind that the Traps also released loads of sulfur.

    Another team at MIT blames acid rain:

    http://web.mit.edu/newsoffice/2013/permian-acid-rain-extinction-112513.html

    In fact, there is more evidence for cooling as a result of the Traps eruptions than catastrophic warming, although both could have occurred.

    Another recent paper attributes the Late Cambrian “dead interval” during which diversification in life seems to have stalled to CO2-derived volcanism & global warming, despite good evidence for tropical glaciation at that time:

    http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg22129522.600-volcanic-mayhem-drove-major-burst-of-evolution.html#.UvokP_ldWSo

    http://www.geosociety.org/gsatoday/archive/20/11/article/i1052-5173-20-11-4.htm

  7. Of course CO2 is to blame. When I was in academia I noticed everyone naturally looked around to see what was being funded and then tried to justify their research in those terms. The less honorable academics really stretched the imagination to justify how their research fit into some orthogonal pot of funding.

    These days a lot of folks are feeding at the CO2 trough.

    In my day it was “Star Wars Defense” and much funding could be gotten for anything you could do with a laser, even if it had nothing to do with defense.

  8. Is there a link to any paper, or was this science reporting by press release? I find it curious that the dating of the end-Permian extinction using detrital zircon (a very reliable method if you have good stratigraphic control, and it appears they might) has a margin of error of 48,000 yr. so they are unable to pin down precisely the duration of the time slice, but they ARE able to say without qualification that there was a strong acidification of the oceans 10,000 yr before that time. With an error margin which could result in the 60,000 yr.duration being anywhere from 12,000 to 108,000 yr. I would be interested to see how they measured the 10,000 yr. time BEFORE the event for which they used the detrital zircon from volcanic ash, and what chemical methods they used to determine that 1). there was an acidification of the oceans; and 2) that acidification resulted from carbon. I am not saying these things can not be concluded, but it is curious that the whole crux of their publication – that there is a ‘smoking gun’ for the End-Permian mass extinction, is simply glossed over. If they did that research, then this is a very poorly reported finding and exactly the reason we have scientific journals – so researches can publish their full research rather than publicize the glamorous facets of their conclusions.

  9. Hey David L;
    “In my day it was “Star Wars Defense” and much funding could be gotten for anything you could do with a laser, even if it had nothing to do with defense.”

    Don’t knock it. At least we got CD and DVD players – and those little cat amusing laser pointers ;-)

  10. kcrucible says:
    February 11, 2014 at 5:26 am

    It´s all relative. The two previous major mass extinction events happened over a lot longer time than that.

    The Late Devonian MEE might have lasted as much as 20 million years, occurring in pulses, the Ordovician perhaps half as long or less.

  11. Whatever survived such a “rapid” global extinction, must have carried the genes required for rapid adaptation to major shifts in climate, shifts which were several orders of magnetude greater than what we are experiencing currently.

    I am heartened that all life on earth today has descended from those survivors and as such, will carry genes which allow rapid evolutionary adaptation.

    This shows that there is nothing to fear from a small increase in a beneficial trace gas in the atmophere.

  12. “It´s all relative. The two previous major mass extinction events happened over a lot longer time than that.”

    That as may be. Even the shorter of the time scales is longer than we have recorded history. Adaptation is a given, not the scare story of “instantaneous collapse” which justifies any action.

    Basically anything that happens over a long period of time should not be called an “event.” It’s not an event. It’s a paradigm shift.

  13. “…the end-Permian extinction occurred over 60,000 years, give or take 48,000 years … We’ve got the extinction nailed in absolute time and duration.”

    Titter. GWB nailed mission accomplished, give or take 8 years.

  14. Are we sure there wasn’t also an impact associated with or possibly triggering the volcanic episode? An impact would be more likely to have an instantaneous effect. A deep ocean impact would minimize an impact debris layer. Is there any evidence of large waves?

  15. Further comment: I’d wager that humanity causes an extinction event via war and weaponry long before the next 12,000 years and that one is more likely to be a rapid change.

  16. “. . . . was triggered by massive volcanic eruptions from the Siberian Traps that released volatile chemicals, including carbon dioxide, into the atmosphere and oceans.”

    So, when did CO2 become volatile?

    Maybe I’m nit-picking here. In scientific terms, chemicals which are ‘volatile’ are said to evaporate at normal room temperature. As volcanic CO2 originates from the super-heated bowls of the Earth, it surely cannot evaporate any more. Only if it originates from a very cold source, can CO2 evaporate. Example: If I remove the ice-cold bottle of fizzy lemonade from our refrigerator and unscrew the top, all that ‘volatile’ man-made gas trapped inside will evaporate. Agreed.

    Incidentally, maybe the researchers should re-visit their conclusions and consider that, whatever disputed form of armageddon caused all that ‘mass-extinction, quite apart from the putrid smell, a charnel pit full of rotting brontosaur corpses give off an intoxicating amount of CO2. There. Theory solved.

  17. BTW: Where did all that CO2 go? What with only 30 pct of the plants left.
    I believe in the volcano CO2, but half the story is missing.

  18. kcrucible says:
    February 11, 2014 at 5:59 am

    A lot of people believe that humans & climate change have been causing an extinction event for the past 50,000 years. I don’t think the extinction rate during that time qualifies the late Pleistocene & Holocene extinctions as a mass event, however.

    To geologists & paleontologists, observed changes over time frames on the order of ten or a hundred thousand years are indeed events. The less than 200,000 year existence of anatomically modern humans covers .004 percent of earth history.

  19. “Now researchers at MIT have determined that the end-Permian extinction occurred over 60,000 years, give or take 48,000 years — practically instantaneous, from a geologic perspective”

    And 30 years is accepted as the time frame for climate changes.

  20. A gas of a sort, yes possibly. Volcanic eruptions, yes possibly. 60,000 years, yes possibly. Carbon dioxide exclusively, unlikely. Look forward to further research to determine more about that. And I would like to know how they can determine with such precision, on this time distance, that the gas was in the oceans “immediately preceding”.

  21. “…will compare it to the new extinction timeline to see where the two events overlap. ”

    Correlation does not imply causation.

  22. Kcrucible @ 5:26 am says:

    From the standpoint of geological time scales, that’s a time of about 1.2 seconds. (assuming 4.5 bn years = 1 day). Is that close enough for instantaneous for you?

  23. The key message being that CO2 is a “volatile” pollutant, they are trying to psych everyone in to a new meme.

  24. A long time ago I was told in high school chemistry that Sulfuric acid is more than 100000 times more acid than CO2 dissolved in water. How do they know the volcanoes emitted only CO2, and not a smidgeon of Sulfur?

  25. Just for comparison: Assuming and age of approxiimately 2. 2 million years for the first humans on Earth, human beings did not show up in the geologic record till about 45 seconds before midnight. We are truly “Johnny-come-lately’s” btw: the figures are not exact ,but are just for relative purposes.

  26. Yup, John Boles, they are getting desperate – demonizing CO2 for past catastrophic climate changes. We can expect more and more of this nonsense as the pause continues.

  27. How does anyone believe any of this. These pseudo scientists always say 95% of species were eliminated during every extinction. At least come up with a new number if want some credibility.

  28. Negrum says:

    This paper would be best appreciated by Spielberg and Lucas :)

    Yes, I thought I was reading a Hollywood script as well.

  29. GeeJam: Dinosaurs did not show up in great numbers until after the end-Permian extinction event. ie. in the early Triassic.

  30. hmmm. A pulse of light carbon with a jump to “likely” reflects a “massive” addition of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. What if it was just carbon soot from all those burning forests? Sounds like a massive particulate aerosol load into the atmosphere which created freezing temperatures. To use their word, it “likely” has nothing to do with CO2 and everything to do with what we know happens when huge volcanic eruptions obscure the sun with soot and ash (and any CO2 from catastrophic hemispheric burnnig stuff pales in comparison to the atmospheric muck). If that same load drastically reduced equatorial solar shortwave infrared (IE what gets to the surface after slogging through that thick atmosphere) we would also have reduced energy recharge into the oceans.

    Upticks in atmospheric or oceanic CO2, even big ones, won’t lead to rapid catastrophic die off in sea life or flora and fauna. No Sun and cold land and ocean temperatures will. Ask the manatees in Florida.

  31. Hoser says:
    February 11, 2014 at 5:56 am

    A crater has long been searched for, but not found. Ocean floor is almost all less than 200 million years old (let alone 250 M), so odds of finding a crater if it existed are low.

    Possibility exists that the Siberian Traps themselves were started by an impact however. This is unlikely, though, since a bolide crashing clear through continental crust to the mantle would on its own probably produce an abrupt mass extinction event.

  32. Solomon Green says:
    February 11, 2014 at 5:24 am
    If volcanic eruptions can be strong enough to eliminate 96% of marine species and 70% of life on land, why do climate models place so little emphasis on them?


    Because they haven’t figured out how to tax volcanoes yet.

  33. AND…if they found light carbon it was from organic matter which is isotopically light. It likely did not come from CO2 being taken in by the oceans.

  34. Addition of CO₂

    The addition (or removal) of CO₂ to a solution does not change the alkalinity. This is because the net reaction produces the same number of equivalents of positively contributing species (H+) as negative contributing species (HCO₃- and/or CO₃²-).

    At neutral pH values:

    CO₂ + H₂O → HCO₃− + H+

    At high pH values:

    CO₂ + H₂O → HCO₃ ²- + 2H+

    So there you have it. Next time a Warming “chicken little” screams at you about “ocean acidification” and CO2, just point out that the ocean is alkaline and adding more CO2 to the ocean does not change the alkalinity at all… and wait for it…

    The above from a recent Chiefo post. http://chiefio.wordpress.com/2014/02/09/co2-makes-the-ocean-more-alkaline/

  35. Eric @ 6:42 am says

    There have been 5 major extinction events in the geologic record.
    1) Odrovician-Silurian event (439 mya) 25% of all marine life and 60% of all marine genera
    2) Late-Devonian event (364 mya) 22% of all marine families and 57% of all marine genera.
    3) Permian-Triassic event (251 mya) The Biggie: 95% of all species including 57% of all marine families 84% of all marine genera and 70% of land species (plants, insects and vertebrates
    4) end-Triassic even (199-214 mya) 22% of all marine families, 56% of marine genera, and an unknown percent of vertebrates
    5) Cretaceouse-Tertiary [K-T] (65 mya) 46% of marine families, 47% marine genera and 19% of land vertebrates (yes that includes the dinosaurs)

    So they are not claiming each event killed off 95% of species for each event.
    mya – million years ago

    ref: http://www.endangeredspeciesinternational.org/overview.html

  36. I TOTALLY blame it on Gamma-ray bursts or a stray rogue planet coming too close. I saw it on the Weather Channel.(/sarc)

  37. “volatile chemicals, including carbon dioxide” This alone shows the agenda behind the article.
    There are other much more toxic and climate inducing molecules released by volcanic activity yet the one emphasised is CO2.

  38. Oh, it is published in PNAS, say no more.

    And mkelly, you are wrong. HCl also produces the same number of positively and negatively charged species. It is the production of H+ what reduces the pH.

  39. Carbon Dioxide equals Plant Food

  40. Zircon U-Pb geochronology has resulted in many conflicting analyses and interpretations. There are a number of reasons for errors not the least of which is inheritance which might be a problem when using zircons from ash beds (zircons are quite resiliant so actually may be older than the ash bed itself). Largely the results come down to an interpretation of the amount of scatter of individual measures and decisions made on inclusion or exclusion of data.

    Bowring (co-author of this latest report) was in the centre of an argument regarding U-Pb zircon geochron for the P/T boundary sometime ago. Roland Mundil from Berkeley Geochronology Centre had argued that Bowring (who ended up with a younger date for the P/T boundary ) had conducted arbitrary data culling whereby he tossed out half of his measurements before averging the remainder. Bowring disagreed and the end result, of course, is uncertainty.

    Just because this paper is more recent doesn’t make it more correct than previous work. It is an interpretation of data fraught with potential error.

  41. Surprised not to see any reference to India’s Deccan Traps, extended and very massive “magmatic episodes” (1,200-feet deep) coterminous with the Chicxulub cometary/meteorite strike that defines the Cretaceous/Tertiary (K/T) Boundary some 65-million years-before-present (YBP).

    Driven –among other influences– by India’s continental plate-tectonic disposition directly opposite the Yucatan, Earth’s oxygen-heavy atmosphere ignited globally, extinguishing not only ornithiscian and sauriscian dinosaurs but whole orders of marine species as Nuclear Winter induced worldwide ocean acidification.

    Impacts and volcanism aside, our current 2.6-million year Pleistocene Era has another twelve – fourteen million years to run before “continental drift” separates North from South American landmasses, allowing global atmospheric/oceanic circulation patterns to meliorate geophysical climate effects. Until then Milankovich cycles, total solar irradiance (TSI), any superficial Coriolus or other affects beloved of academic researchers, are entirely beside the point.

  42. urederra says:

    February 11, 2014 at 7:28 am

    And mkelly, you are wrong.
    =====================
    Only CO2 was addressed. I don’t think HCl was mentioned. So how could I or Chiefo have been wrong?

  43. higley7 says:
    February 11, 2014 at 5:21 am
    ——–
    Most of the warmists that I have talked with seem to be convinced that nature is a fragile thing, and that the even tiniest of changes could result in the total collapse of the system.

  44. US Geological Survey provides technical information about volcanic emissions:

    http://volcanoes.usgs.gov/hazards/gas/climate.php

    Sulfur dioxide is the principal emission affecting climate. For carbon dioxide, volcanoes do not emit more than human emissions:
    “Do the Earth’s volcanoes emit more CO2 than human activities? Research findings indicate that the answer to this frequently asked question is a clear and unequivocal, “No.” Human activities, responsible for a projected 35 billion metric tons (gigatons) of CO2 emissions in 2010 (Friedlingstein et al., 2010), release an amount of CO2 that dwarfs the annual CO2 emissions of all the world’s degassing subaerial and submarine volcanoes (Gerlach, 2011).”

    Incidentally, USGS introduces an “anthropogenic CO2 multiplier” that equates days of anthropogenic CO2 with years of global volcanism.

  45. Lloyd Martin Hendaye says:
    February 11, 2014 at 7:39 am

    Not all the saurischians. Birds survived.

    It’s likely that the Deccan Traps were erupting before the Yucatan impact, as the Indian Plate passed over the Reunion Island hotspot.

    Since I was at best dubious of the astronomical Dr. Sagan’s ideologically motivated nuclear winter hypothesis, I´m also not so sure about the global conflagration hypothesis, although it is possible & might even have some supporting physical evidence.

    For a mass extinction correlated with volcanism, consider the Triassic-Jurassic event, associated with the CAMP, rifting among Africa, Europe & the Americas as Pangaea began to break up. That’s the one that wiped out the dinosaurs’ competition.

  46. milodonharlani says:
    February 11, 2014 at 6:47 am
    —-
    A large impact would cause massive fracturing of the crust on the opposite side of the earth.

  47. mkelly:

    “This is because the net reaction produces the same number of equivalents of positively contributing species (H+) as negative contributing species (HCO₃- and/or CO₃²-).”

    urederra already answered, but I’ll add this:

    It is measurably untrue that adding CO2 to an alkaline solution does not change its alkalinity. In many freshman chem labs, students titrate solutions of unknown acids using solutions of sodium hydroxide whose concentration is precisely known. These solutions have to be freshly prepared from extremely concentrated sodium hydroxide (about 50%). Why?

    Because dilute (say one molar) sodium hydroxide solution absorbs enough carbon dioxide on standing under air for some hours to make a measurable dent in its base strength: the carbonate you get as a result is a weaker base than the hydroxide you started with. Very concentrated sodium hydroxide absorbs CO2 as well, but the resulting sodium carbonate is insoluble in the solution – so you take the supernatant, dilute it, measure its concentration and use it promptly, before atmospheric CO2 can neutralize it.

    Does this validate everything the “chicken littles” say about ocean acidification? Of course not. But I’d advise against arguing that something can’t happen when it can be shown to do so, reproducibly, in simple demonstrations.

  48. But, I did like the part of the article in reference, comparing the CO2 level then, to now, and calling then as starvation, that puts variability in location to starvation. As Measured at local was put at starvation range, during Feburary, Seasonal Change anyone? How were they able to measure Feb. back then? With 12K year differential? Illogical.

  49. mkelly:

    “Only CO2 was addressed. I don’t think HCl was mentioned. So how could I or Chiefo have been wrong?”

    Because by the logic of you and Chiefo, bubbling HCl into water shouldn’t change the pH, because the overall charge of the solution hasn’t changed.

  50. Sorry mods – jest obviously isn’t a word in your vocabulary?
    Remove as necessary :-)

    [no idea what you are talking about -mod]

  51. Only CO2 was addressed. I don’t think HCl was mentioned. So how could I or Chiefo have been wrong?

    Yeah, Chiefo is wrong. Adding CO2 changes the pH of a solution. How much does it change depends on the solution. Graeme no. 3 explains it perfectly at chiefio’s.

    http://chiefio.wordpress.com/2014/02/09/co2-makes-the-ocean-more-alkaline/#comment-56956

    Yes, I know that he says that “Basically, you are quite right; rising carbon dioxide is never going to make the oceans acid.” But it does reduce the pH of the ocean, not enough to make it acidic, though.

  52. Back when leadership was hereditary a kingdom might be occasionally ruled by an heir to the throne who was a complete moron. Everyone knew the king was a moron, and the kingdom was run by more able people, however they still would genuflect when they saw the king, out of respect to their current social order, which was something they did not want to disrupt by causing any sort of revolution or civil war.

    The paper seems like a solid chunk of research. I imagine those words, “including Carbon Dioxide,” were put in as a genuflection to a moronic king.

  53. Jim says:
    February 11, 2014 at 7:55 am
    —–
    I suspect they were assuming that there would be a seasonal variation in CO2, just as there is today, with February being the low.

  54. Alan McIntire says:
    February 11, 2014 at 8:05 am

    Bedout as the Permian extinction culprit was promptly debunked in 2004 & 2005. It may still have some adherents, but nowadays it’s not even the most popular choice for a P/Tr killer crater.

  55. “Solomon Green says:
    February 11, 2014 at 5:24 am
    If volcanic eruptions can be strong enough to eliminate 96% of marine species and 70% of life on land, why do climate models place so little emphasis on them?”

    ################
    huh? of the 40 or so models used for Ar5, all but a handful represent volcanic forcing..
    Further, they OVEREMPHASIZE the importance of the emissions from volcanos: In the models the cooling that results from volcanos is too large and the rebound to “normality” happens too quickly.
    This is well known and reported in the science.

  56. “Jack Maloney says:
    February 11, 2014 at 6:23 am
    “…will compare it to the new extinction timeline to see where the two events overlap. ”

    Correlation does not imply causation.
    #############################

    huh. they are not establishing causation. If there is no overlap they have evidence AGAINST their explanation. This is called checking evidence to see if it confirms or disconfirms your theory.

  57. “rockdoc says:
    February 11, 2014 at 7:33 am
    Zircon U-Pb geochronology has resulted in many conflicting analyses and interpretations. There are a number of reasons for errors not the least of which is inheritance which might be a problem when using zircons from ash beds (zircons are quite resiliant so actually may be older than the ash bed itself). Largely the results come down to an interpretation of the amount of scatter of individual measures and decisions made on inclusion or exclusion of data.”

    ################

    good comment.

  58. urederra says:

    February 11, 2014 at 8:08 am

    Yes, I know that he says that “Basically, you are quite right; rising carbon dioxide is never going to make the oceans acid.” But it does reduce the pH of the ocean, not enough to make it acidic, though.
    ===========
    So the point of the post was to show that CO2 may have not been the culprit in the extinction. You and JPS argue over acids which were not mentioned in the post and in the end you agree that CO2 will not make it acidic.

  59. Is there any research out there that analyzes whether major evolutionary leaps may explain these extinction events? All we ever hear about is environmental factors. What about evolution? Perhaps some new bacteria or fungi or whatever evolved and few species could handle it, for example. Or some other new innovation takes the world by storm and affects everything else along its way. I’m just wondering if this sort of thing has been convincingly ruled out.

  60. mkelly:

    “You and JPS argue over acids which were not mentioned in the post”

    Your first post on this thread begins,

    “Addition of CO₂
    “The addition (or removal) of CO₂ to a solution does not change the alkalinity.”

    I won’t speak for urederra, whose response was sound. I responded to your post because I thought you might wish to know this is incorrect, before the next time you tell a “chicken little” that adding CO2 to the ocean does not change its alkalinity at all. If you’re now objecting that this is off the topic of CO2 causing extinctions: yes, it is.

  61. Anthony was kind enough to publish my article on 06 March 2012 on this subject.

    I went to the link provided (above), and looked at the abstract. What is amazing is that they STILL missed the end-Permian extinction by more than 20,000 years:

    Formally accepted boundary for the Permian: 252.2 ma, plus or minus 0.2 ma

    From their abstract, they state the extinction, “… occurred between 251.941 [plus or minus] 0.037 and 251.880 [plus or minus] 0.031 Mya, … “.

    I am appalled at the quality of research these days. The terminal Permian extinction was concluded, according to the current research, yet these “researchers” think that once the Permian was concluded, we were still in the “Permian”.

    And, of course, carbon dioxide was the **only** culprit.

    Dr. Paul R. Janke put together a compelling argument for an impact, and my discussion (WUWT) expanded it. The only aspect unaccounted for is an iridium-rich layer, similar to the K-T boundary, as I discussed.

    We should also refer to Anthony’s chart which showed that a prolonged extinction event was underway in the 5 – 10 million years preceding the terminal event. Maybe Anthony or the mods can append that chart for us.

    Thanks,

    Mark H.

  62. Stupid tablet..My, my, my. Marine life must have been so prolific that one could literally walk across the oceans on the backs of all those creatures! Talk about over crowding and stressed rescources. Funny how enviromentalists (some) would love for a mass human extinction to take place, but these past natural extinctions are their worst nightmare.

  63. Mark Hladik says:
    February 11, 2014 at 8:56 am

    Dr. Paul R. Janke put together a compelling argument for an impact, and my discussion (WUWT) expanded it. The only aspect unaccounted for is an iridium-rich layer, similar to the K-T boundary, as I discussed.

    The “reason” for the Ir-enriched layer with the 64 MYA collision-extinction theory is that asteroids are Ir-rich compared to the usual earth-sourced rock.

    But, why would this particular 251.9 MYA collision (if it occurred) have to be a Ir-enriched asteroid? The multiple-comet-fragment collision we just saw into Jupiter only a few years ago had earth-sized cloud residues in Jupiter’s atmosphere. But no Ir spectra was reported.

    The Tunguska non-surface explosion in only 100 years ago left no reported Ir spectra or “dust”. Might be there, but has not been looked for or measured – but I have read no papers even hinting at Ir residue in Siberia.

    The 64 MYA event was characterized by a very thick layer – in some photos it looks deeper than 1-3 cm. Is any layer that thick – certainly it would fall in more than just 1 year! – found near in time to the 251.9 MYA collision?

  64. In central North America the Permian section begins as nice fossilliferous marine limestones. These limestones are overlain by massive evaporite sections of salt, gypsum, and anhydrite with interbedded oxidized shales and paleosols. These same Permian evaporite basins exist all over the world, contain few fossils as you’d expect, and represent far more than 40,000 years. These evaporite basins were likely created by the formation of Pangea and coincide with a mid-Permian extinction which thereafter background extinction rates never fell until after the big end-Permian extinction. It was clearly not a single catastrophic event, but rather a long term decline of conditions on Earth started by the direct destruction of much of the world’s shallow marine environments.

    As for ocean acidification from CO2 being a main cause, the extinction of 99% of radiolarians (which build Si02 shells) refutes this hypothesis considering several taxa of CaCO3 shell organisms didn’t undergo the same reduction in diversity. Ocean anoxia and euxinia, which there is evidence for, are the best explanations in my opinion.

  65. But what originally triggered the spike in carbon dioxide? The leading theory among geologists and paleontologists has to do with widespread, long-lasting volcanic eruptions from the Siberian Traps, a region of Russia whose steplike hills are a result of repeated eruptions of magma. To determine whether eruptions from the Siberian Traps triggered a massive increase in oceanic carbon dioxide, Burgess and Bowring are using similar dating techniques to establish a timescale for the Permian period’s volcanic eruptions that are estimated to have covered over five million cubic kilometers.

    These guys are incapable to do simple back-of-the-envelope calculations. CO2 is relatively insoluble in basaltic melts and the mantle is undersaturated with respect to CO2. Therefore a reasonable upper bound to flood basalt CO2 content is 0.5 wt.%.

    Assuming a 80% degassing efficiency, 1000 cubic km of erupted magma would increase atmospheric CO2 level by 1.4 ppmv. Their number, 5 million cubic km for the original volume of the Siberian traps is at the very high end, estimates usually range from 1 to 4 million cubic km. However, it took about a million years for eruptions in that regions to accomplish that. Atmospheric CO2 was around 2000 ppmv during the Jurassic period, when Earth teamed with life, so it is not that dangerous.

    Therefore, if the end-Permian extinction really happened because of CO2 and in 60,000 years as they claim, CO2 levels should have climbed much higher in that timeframe, but that could not be, because it would have required most of the eruption to happen almost instantaneously, but even their full 5 million cubic km could have produced only 3600 ppmv, if half of that would not have been sucked up by the oceans fast. What is more, weathering of newly formed basaltic plateaus starts immediately, which uses aerial CO2 in great quantities.

    On the positive side, this time we do not have to believe as many as six impossible things before breakfast, just two.
    1. Siberian traps eruptions happened a hundred times faster than usually claimed
    2. CO2 levels, which supported abundant life later on, exterminated almost everything

  66. “Carbon Dioxide equals Plant Food”

    I have long been fascinated by Snow Ball Earth. Lots of evidence to support that such an event happened. So that caused the Earth to thaw after glaciation all the way down to the tropics (some say all the way to the equator). CO2, CO2 in massive amounts, amounts unseen at any other time due to volcanism and the fact that the oceans were covered in ice and unable to absorb atmospheric CO2. So if massive CO2 caused a mass extinction 250 my ago why did not the even more massive amounts of CO2 do the same 400 my ago? In fact the exact opposite happened, life exploded after the Earth warmed and the glaciers melted. Even thou massive amounts of CO2 were in the oceans and atmosphere. Something does not compute. As many have suggested I suspect the more toxic volcanic gasses were to blame.

  67. dmacleo says:
    February 11, 2014 at 5:07 am
    damn suv’s and humans, they even ruined the planet before they existed.

    The ice core record shows first the temp goes up, then the CO2 goes up. Since we know increased CO2 causes increased temps, the only conclusion is the effects of the increased CO2 can go backwards in time. How else do we explain CO2 going up but no increase in the average global surface temperature for nearly two decades? Obviously, the greenhouse effect can move forwards and backwards in time. There is no other explanation.

    It happened on the last episode of Star Trek The Next Generation, so we know it could be happening now.

    ~more soylent green!

  68. The date of the Permian extinction used to be put at about 249 – 250 mya which coincided with the start of the Siberian traps volcanoes, now it has been determined to be at 252 mya which was several million years before the traps volcanoes.
    Secondly this is a period of geologic time in which CO2 was the lowest in geologic history (well of the last 600 million years). The lack of CO2 mean that plant photosynthesis could not maintain the O2 levels in the water and atmosphere causing O2 to drop from 35% down to 15% at the time of the extinctions and further drop to 12 % before recovering during the Triassic.
    The lack of Oxygen in the water allowed sulfur bacteria to grow and make significant area of ocean anoxic through production of H2S. This was what caused the mass extinction in my view. The decomposition of dead organisms coupled with substantially reduced photosynthesis caused the CO2 to rise to a peak at the time of the extinction and before the Traps volcanoes started. It was this temporary peak that brought the extinctions to a halt and allowed for a little rebound in O2 levels.
    The extinction was also preceded by an ice age which helped to lower CO2 levels. When the ice age ended warmer conditions perhaps accelerated the removal of O2 leading to the extinctions.

    Re effect of ice age on CO2 – preindustrial levels of CO2 are put at around 270 ppm. This level is also consistent with Vostok ice core data for interglacial periods but the general ice age levels are 100ppm below this. At 180 ppm plant struggle to survive as it is very close to the 150 ppm plant death zone.

    To summarise:
    * Unless their is a substantial injection of CO2 its removal from the biosphere continues as it did from the Cambrian to the Permian. (mainly from limestone formation and fossil deposition.
    * When CO2 drops below 300 ppm plants cannot maintain the O2 levels in the atmosphere.
    * Oxygen levels drop and growth of anaerobes increases.
    * Oceans become anoxic and toxic to life
    * Mass extinctions occur
    * decomposition exceeds photosynthesis – CO2 rises again
    * new input of CO2 eg Siberian Traps volcanoes reinvigorates plant growth and life continues.
    .
    Therefore the cause of the extinctions was the lack of CO2, the spike stopped the extinctions

  69. “We’ve got the extinction nailed in absolute time and duration,” says Sam Bowring

    Do What ???

  70. Since when has CO² been a chemically volitile gas.? What exactly does it bind with easily? Another pair of clowns on holiday with the taxpayer’s credit card.

  71. To mike fowle:

    You note that this paper reads like a candidate for a dramatic
    Hollywood script. Well, maybe. On the geologic time-scale,
    a 60000 year interval is very short. On the human time scale,
    you would still have an awful lot of time to fill in.

    But the transition from the Permian era to the Triassic has long
    been known as a period of (geologically speaking) fast, dramatic
    events. Some have referred to the mass extinction as “the Great
    Dying”, as it’s the largest known mass extinction event. (See the
    post by Gilbert K. Arnold above for a list.) Also,
    a lot of mountain-building events happened about this same time.
    I particularly recall a popular-press paleontology book published
    in 1938. It had the analogy of a “geologic time clock” which would
    peal to mark the change between eras. For this transition, it
    included the rather droll statement that “…As the geologic time
    clock began to sound again, its peals went unheard, for they were
    drowned in the thunderous roar of moving mountains.”

  72. The evidence suggests that a sharp atmospheric spike in CO2 would stimulate all life rather than extinct it.

  73. The Greenhouse Gas “paradigm shift” requires the revision of history to fit the “paradigm.”

    It does come out rather badly for anyone who got a degree in the earth sciences before the “structured revolution” in science gave scientists this powerful new tool and this “new language,” and this new “lens” with which to understand natural phenomena. Structured “revolutions” in science do come as a surprise to those who were not invited to the meeting where it was decided by a “community of experts” what questions will be asked and what measurements will be taken and how the data will be interpreted.

    Although I was not invited to the structured “revolution” either, I think the “community of researchers” will find the co2 and methane of past epochs triggered “tipping points” in earth’s ecosystems faster than life could adapt and evolve to conditions.

    Judging from the comments the new greenhouse gas “paradigm” is “incommensurable” with what the text books once said. It is a little startling to receive the memo that the “rabbit” was really a “duck” at first, but the “researchers” found this “paradigm shift” necessary to answer their “questions.”

    This is how progressive scientists roll. And this will mean of course a few modifications in behavior and education, now that these “tipping points” are being “discovered” with such great “accuracy” and “precision.”

  74. A couple links with illustrations comparing climate shifts (greenhouse earth, hothouse earth and icehouse earth) with massive volcanic eruptions (Large Igneous Province – LIP) creation, and extinction events for your consideration. I am starting to wonder if life on this planet is well adapted to volcanic activity, as it has been continuous since the planet cooled. Volcanic activity (among other things) stresses the life but it takes another large push – impact, close supernovae, methane bloom, etc. to trigger an extinction event. Cheers –

    http://www.princeton.edu/geosciences/people/keller/pdf/K_24.pdf

    http://www.largeigneousprovinces.org/13aug

  75. Clarification: continuous in that volcanic activity is always present, though the rate of emission vastly waxes and wanes over time. Cheers -

  76. Tom G(ologist) says:
    February 11, 2014 at 5:38 am

    Hey David L;
    “In my day it was “Star Wars Defense” and much funding could be gotten for anything you could do with a laser, even if it had nothing to do with defense.”

    Don’t knock it. At least we got CD and DVD players – and those little cat amusing laser pointers ;-)
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    More important the research was not used to justify shutting down Western Civilization.

  77. So the Siberian Traps volcanic explosions only released co2? They released a whole lot of noxious gases and probably blotted out the sun.

  78. Around 252 million years ago CO2 levels were roughly between 1700-1800 ppm. There were periods for many millions of years with much higher CO2 levels with no mass extinctions. There is no scientific evidence that CO2 caused any mass extinction known unless the spike would have been above 50,000 ppm.

  79. Sounds like desperation to me….CO2 is the enemy. There has been some gentle warming at the end of the last century that has flattened off but the scare stories come from biased climate models. No overall warming since the Climatic Optimum so cooling 10,000 years. NASA and the Solar Physicists predicting global cooling so the outlook is bleak for the planet and the AGW’s.
    To keep the grants coming in they have to blame the planets number one plant food for something.
    If the Solar Physicists are right about an approaching Mini Ice Age we will need all the cO2 we can muster….

  80. The real question is how many Hiroshima’s does it take to warm the water around a coral reef the size of Manhattan by three degrees?

  81. Not being a volcanologist I tried to find out what volcanoes emit?

    The most abundant gas typically released into the atmosphere from volcanic systems is water vapor (H2O), followed by carbon dioxide (CO2) and sulfur dioxide (SO2). Volcanoes also release smaller amounts of others gases, including hydrogen sulfide (H2S), hydrogen (H2), carbon monoxide (CO), hydrogen chloride (HCL), hydrogen fluoride (HF), and helium (He).

    http://volcanoes.usgs.gov/hazards/gas/

    The IPCC has informed of the following.

    IPCC
    Water vapour is the most important greenhouse gas, and carbon dioxide (CO2) is the second-most important one.

    http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/wg1/en/faq-1-3.html

    I hear there was life threatening global warming at the time too.

  82. Matt G says:
    February 11, 2014 at 10:11 am “Around 252 million years ago CO2 levels were roughly between 1700-1800 ppm. There were periods for many millions of years with much higher CO2 levels with no mass extinctions. There is no scientific evidence that CO2 caused any mass extinction known unless the spike would have been above 50,000 ppm.”

    I think the paradigm shift in interpreting the past now involves measuring the rapidity of change; that is, the levels changed too quickly for life to adapt. Now that the ghg paradigm has been established, the evidence can be found with great precision and accuracy.

  83. Tom G(ologist) on February 11, 2014 at 5:38 am
    Hey David L;
    “In my day it was “Star Wars Defense” and much funding could be gotten for anything you could do with a laser, even if it had nothing to do with defense.”

    Don’t knock it. At least we got CD and DVD players – and those little cat amusing laser pointers ;-)

    ———
    Not knocking it….you are absolutely right!

  84. ” wiping out more than 96 percent of marine species ”
    “How do you kill 96 percent of everything that lived in the oceans in tens of thousands of years? It could be that an exceptional extinction requires an exceptional explanation.”

    Well, 96% of all species is not 96% of everything that lived; it would only be if all species were equally plentyful. Maybe most of these species were only scraping a living in a tiny niche, I don’t know. A species is a species, sorta, whether there’s 1000 or a billion individuals.

    But my real problem with the statement is, the guy claims that they know all species that lived back then, and know all species that survived it. So he claims complete knowledge. Actually it’s not my problem, it’s a problem for Darwinism. If knowledge of ancient species is now complete, there are no missing links. Darwin said that if no missing links can be found his theory is falsified.

  85. Zeke says:
    February 11, 2014 at 10:28 am

    “measuring the rapidity of change; that is, the levels changed too quickly for life to adapt.”

    Humans face spikes of CO2 indoors much greater than than current atmospheric levels now and have no problems. 60,000 years is not a rapid change to living organisms and many species would have many thousands of generations involved in evolution. it is more than 2400+ generations for humans and any concurrent generations would not notice any difference.

  86. “How do you kill 96 percent of everything that lived in the oceans in tens of thousands of years? It could be that an exceptional extinction requires an exceptional explanation.”

    Oh yes, it was not the giant impact meteor times bigger then the one which killed the dinosaurs:
    “The crater is about 300 miles wide.”

    http://www.space.com/2452-giant-crater-tied-worst-mass-extinction.html

    It was the +0.x °C from Carbon Dioxide which caused the extinction. Important is not to quantify how much CO2 when out just state it.

  87. You should all see this Documentary!!!!

    I’ve been pointing to this for years. I’ve posted it here a couple of times and at Real Climate (what fun that was). This wonderful documentary covered this topic years ago (he determined it was a 75,000 year timeline…it’s the last 1/8th of this documentary which starts out talking about an Asteroid as a possible culprit, watch towards the end). http://topdocumentaryfilms.com/day-earth-nearly-died/ (if you can’t sit through it all, the summary starts at the 35:00 part, but his due diligence is awesome, wonder where he is now)

    The tricky part (I posted this on Real Climate at one time and was told that we didn’t know how much co2 the volcanoes were putting out so we don’t know if a tear in the earths crust that stretched from Moscow to Australia (this was Pangaea at the time) could produce more co2 than we do now…really?) Does anyone know how many gt of co2 these volcanoes put out annually?

  88. urederra says: @ February 11, 2014 at 8:08 am

    Only CO2 was addressed. I don’t think HCl was mentioned. So how could I or Chiefo have been wrong?

    Yeah, Chiefo is wrong. Adding CO2 changes the pH of a solution. How much does it change depends on the solution. Graeme no. 3 explains it perfectly at chiefio’s.
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    Again. The oceans are BUFFERED. What is done on a chemistry lab bench WITH OUT A BUFFER is not the same.

    This video shows that a candle floating on water, burning in the air inside a glass, converts the oxygen in the air to CO2. The water rises in the glass because the CO2, which replaced the oxygen, is quickly dissolved in the water. The water contains calcium ions Ca++, because we initially dissolved calcium hydroxide Ca(OH)2 in the water. The CO2 produced during oxygen burning reacts with the calcium ions to produce solid calcium carbonate CaCO3, which is easily visible as a whitening of the water when we switch on a flashlight. This little kitchen experiment demonstrates the inorganic carbon cycle in nature. The oceans take out our anthropogenic CO2 gas by quickly dissolving it as bicarbonate HCO3-, which in turn forms solid calcium carbonate either organically in calcareous organisms or precipitates inorganically. The CaCO3 is precipitating and not dissolving during this process, because buffering in the ocean maintains a stable pH around 8. We also see that CO2 reacts very fast with the water, contrary to the claim by the IPCC that it takes 50 – 200 years for this to happen….

    http://www.co2web.info/

    The actual chemistry is in the paper The distribution of CO2 between atmosphere, hydrosphere, and lithosphere; minimal influence from anthropogenic CO2 on the global “Greenhouse Effect”. starting on page 3.

    The link is at that website along with several papers dealing with volcanoes, CO2 and geology.

  89. A paper by Marusek ‘The Great Permian Extinction Debate’ (35th Lunar and Planetary Science Conference, 2004), states that the Permian sedimentary/paleo record indicates the extinction interval involved three impact events and lasted over a period of 8 million years beginning at the end of the Guadalupian (259 ma) and ending at the Permian –Triassic boundary (251 ma). Two of those impacts caused pole reversals.
    The paleontological record is supported by red oxic Guadalupian chert overlain by gray anoxic chert transitioning into deep ocean anoxious siliceous and carbonaceous claystone at the Triassic boundary. The impact events also caused the Siberian Traps and subsea volcanic eruptions at plate boundaries.
    Although the paper recognizes three extinction events, causing a superanoxic ocean, it suggests the last extinction event collapsed the remaining marine and terrestrial ecosystems in “a few tens of thousands of years.”
    No direct links to the paper. Marusek’s website ‘Impact:

    http://www.breadandbutterscience.com/

  90. Zeke says:
    February 11, 2014 at 10:28 am
    I think the paradigm shift in interpreting the past now involves measuring the rapidity of change; that is, the levels changed too quickly for life to adapt. Now that the ghg paradigm has been established, the evidence can be found with great precision and accuracy.

    Zeke, breaking news: sudden variations in CO2 content do not kill plants, nor animals, these happen day to day:

    http://m4gw.com/minnesota-co2-drops-from-over-400ppm-to-362ppm-in-one-day/

    Plants are being grown in greenhouses with 800-1000 CO2 ppm without mass extinction, neither plants, nor humans working there.

  91. So if the trigger takes 10,000 years and the extinction takes much longer, how does Al Gore expect half of all life to go extinct in the next 30 years?

  92. Zeke says:
    February 11, 2014 at 10:00 am

    The Greenhouse Gas “paradigm shift” requires the revision of history to fit the “paradigm.”

    Although I was not invited to the structured “revolution” either, I think the “community of researchers” will find the co2 and methane of past epochs triggered “tipping points” in earth’s ecosystems faster than life could adapt and evolve to conditions.

    Judging from the comments the new greenhouse gas “paradigm” is “incommensurable” with what the text books once said. It is a little startling to receive the memo that the “rabbit” was really a “duck” at first, but the “researchers” found this “paradigm shift” necessary to answer their “questions.”

    This is how progressive scientists roll. And this will mean of course a few modifications in behavior and education, now that these “tipping points” are being “discovered” with such great “accuracy” and “precision.”

    Oh yes, you are perfectly right and I was wrong, sorry about it.
    Indeed I have already encountered this paradigm shift and these “tipping points” in history study, like the farting megafauna going extinct (due to pre-historic humans hunter-gatherers of course) causing the younger dryas event, also diagnosed with “precision” and “accuracy”:

    http://www.nature.com/ngeo/journal/v3/n6/full/ngeo877.html

  93. Gail Combs says:
    February 11, 2014 at 10:07 am
    Tom G(ologist) says:
    February 11, 2014 at 5:38 am

    Hey David L;
    “In my day it was “Star Wars Defense” and much funding could be gotten for anything you could do with a laser, even if it had nothing to do with defense.”

    Don’t knock it. At least we got CD and DVD players – and those little cat amusing laser pointers ;-)
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    More important the research was not used to justify shutting down Western Civilization.

    While there was waste and surely corruption and insider dealing, the purpose was to preserve Western civilization. The people behind it believed in American exceptionalism, that our way of life was not only worth preserving, but it was better than any of the alternatives.

  94. Lars P. says,

    Thank you very much for the breaking news, “Minnesota CO2 drops from over 400ppm to 362ppm in one day!” with the graph by Elmer Beauregard. He says, “The day started out at 405ppm but the sun was shining brightly and all the new budding trees and young green grass started to gobble up all of that extra CO2 and that number dropped quite a bit, in fact at about 6:45 in the afternoon it dropped way down to 362ppm. The average for the day was 394ppm.”

    It reminded me of my own region, which rains so much that we no longer even notice the green sheen of moss on sidewalks, fences, and even tires if you park for too long.

    According to theory, rain of course washes the co2 out of the air, becoming a solution called carbonic acid, which then eats away soft limestone, forming caves. My roses, apple trees, and grapevines, along with great stands of evergreen and deciduous trees, convert the rest of the atmospheric co2 to various sugars, oils, starches, and wood. I am sure we have our own regional co2 levels which cannot be binned or averaged with other regions, and on balance, I would say that my emissions are contributing to the formation of roses, grapes, fir, stalactites, and extraordinary calcite crystals; and that these in fact make life on earth a little more enjoyable. I don’t expect to be penalized by environmental activists and politicians for being in a symbiotic relationship with nature here. Yet still our governor is forging a regional ghg reduction agreement with part of Canada to do just that.

  95. A couple of questions for the more mathematically inclined:

    1. Over tens of thousands of years the oceans are well mixed. If the entire atmosphere was pure CO2, and over a few thousand years all dissolved into the sea leaving nothing but vacuum over the earth’s surface, by how much would this increase the ocean’s pH? My guess would be a tenth or two.

    2. What are the relative magnitudes of the rate of CO2 emission during the Siberian trap flood basalt event, and the rate of human release of CO2 currently? I would guess something like 1000:1.

  96. Its hard to describe just how big the Siberian Traps volcanoes were.

    They lasted for several million years and the most energetic activity was right at the Permian extinction timeline but the volcanoes started before and continued afterward.

    The volcanoes erupted enough material to cover the entire continental United States in 400 meters of ash and magma. Or let’s say it was enough to cover the entire land surface of Earth at the time in 10 meters of ash and magma.

    Yeah, there is going to be some extinctions from that.

  97. Bill Illis says:

    February 11, 2014 at 12:33 pm
    Its hard to describe just how big the Siberian Traps volcanoes were.

    Do we have any idea what initiates such flood basalts?

  98. urederra says: @ February 11, 2014 at 8:08 am

    Yeah, Chiefo is wrong. Adding CO2 changes the pH of a solution. How much does it change depends on the solution. Graeme no. 3 explains it perfectly at chiefio’s.

    Here is the conclusion of what Graeme no. 3 said that you forgot to say:
    Graeme no. 3 says: “Basically, you are quite right; rising carbon dioxide is never going to make the oceans acid.”

    Your comments were unnecessary.

  99. I agree with Tom G(eologist) and rockdoc about problems dating zircons. Additionally, although uranium / lead dating is one of the oldest and most refined dating techniques, the precision is between 0.1% – 1%. For the youngest Permian rocks (252 million years old), that’s 252,000 to 2.52 million years.

    “We’ve got the extinction nailed in absolute time and duration,” says Sam Bowring, the Robert R. Shrock Professor of Earth and Planetary Sciences at MIT.

    Although I have not read the paper, I don’t see how they could have nailed down the extinction to a range of only 60,000 years (+- 48,000 years) using uranium / lead dating.

  100. Gilbert:
    “From the standpoint of geological time scales, that’s a time of about 1.2 seconds. (assuming 4.5 bn years = 1 day). Is that close enough for instantaneous for you?”

    No, not really. Until a human being can live billions of years, geologic time scales are meaningless to human beings. Few living things live as long as a hundred years. How many living generations will have occurred in this “instant?” “Instant” means Instant. It happens and is done. Things happening over the course of tens of thousands of years are not instant by any definition except ones that mountains and stars would measure time by.

    Local populations of animals adapt within decades and centuries, let alone a thousand, ten thousand, or a hundred thousand years.. The “extinction event” is really just various populations waxing and waning… earth and life adapting to the current environment.

  101. kcrucible: You missed the point. In human terms 60,000 years is a very long time. However, I was talking about 60,000 years in relation to the total age of the earth. Since geologists routinely talk about “deep time” I pointed out in a post later on that 60,000 years is literally a drop in a bucket. Geologically speaking 60,000 years is nearly instantaneous. The link below summarizes this nicely. I especially like the comment at the very end of the time table. Modern human beings show up in the last 5 seconds of this 24 hour day.

    http://www2.nau.edu/~lrm22/lessons/timeline/24_hours.html

  102. DocMartyn says:
    February 11, 2014 at 2:20 pm
    I am amazed that atmospheric CO2 can reach out from the upper atmosphere and capture extraterrestrial argon and helium, then stick it inside buckminsterfullerenes.
    From the article:
    However, a lack of impact evidence led many researchers to blame the Permian mass extinction on the massive volcanic eruptions occurring in Siberia at the time.

    The point is that the impact evidence was meanwhile found in Antarctica under the ice, as I posted above: Lars P. says: February 11, 2014 at 10:57 am

  103. The volcano might have been only the result of the impact. It is true that the time is not very precisely measured, but in any case such an impact would have triggered an extinction event.

    “GRACE gravity evidence for an impact basin in Wilkes Land, Antarctica”
    The existence of the mascon is a strong indicator of the impact, not only the ridge.

    ” The micrometeorite and fossil evidence suggests that the impact may have occurred at the beginning of the greatest extinction of life on Earth at ~260 Ma when the Siberian Traps were effectively antipodal to it. Antipodal volcanism is common to large impact craters of the Moon and Mars and may also account for the antipodal relationships of essentially half of the Earth’s large igneous provinces and hot spots. ”

    http://www.adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2009GGG….10.2014V

  104. Lars P. says:
    February 11, 2014 at 3:01 pm

    What might be a big but not well dated crater has been found under Wilkes Land ice, but evidence for ET impact, not so much.

    Australian-Oregonian paleopedologist (paleosol expert) Dr. Gregory Retallack has IMO pretty conclusively shown that the Wilkes Land feature is not a mass extinction killer from outer space:

    http://geology.gsapubs.org/content/26/11/979.abstract

    http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S092181810600141X

    And the hypothesis of antipodal hotspot creation remains controversial.

    But far be it from me to cite a scientific consensus as conclusive of anything.

  105. Jumping on the CO2 bandwagon may seem profitable and sexy nowadays, but one may wonder how much such pseudoscientific research is going to erode the MIT’s reputation, on the long run.

  106. Gail Combs, 11:01:

    “Again, the oceans are BUFFERED.”

    Yes, I realize that. I’m sure you realize, the pH of a buffered solution does change when you add acid or base, it just does so much less than if there were no buffer present.

    “The water contains calcium ions Ca++, because we initially dissolved calcium hydroxide Ca(OH)2 in the water. The CO2 produced during oxygen burning reacts with the calcium ions to produce solid calcium carbonate CaCO3,”

    Well, the CO2 reacts with the hydroxide to make carbonate [(CO3)2-], which then pairs up with the [Ca2+] to make water-insoluble calcium carbonate. A solution of calcium hydroxide, unlike the ocean, is not a buffered solution. So for every calcium ion precipitated as calcium carbonate, two hydroxide ions have been removed from solution, and the hydroxide concentration is most certainly decreasing.

    Janice Moore:

    “M Kelly and Gail Combs versus the Pointlessly Picky Pedants:
    “Kelly — Combs WIN.”

    If Combs wins, MKelly (“the addition of CO2 to a solution does not change the alkalinity”) loses.

    And yes, I do get picky when someone uses a misunderstanding of freshman chemistry to try to refute a silly argument. It allows proponents of the silly argument to dismiss us all the more readily. I’m sorry you find my objection pointless. Now, what substance did your comment add?

  107. Tectonic movement should be part of this discussion, there is inflated attention to asteroids but little on tectonics which are known to be a major driver of volcanism.

    There is another important candidate for cause of volcanic phenomena large and small. It is the same agent that causes climate phenomena and changes. What is this mystery agent? Nothing. Nothing is causing these events. The system itself produces them without outside forcing.

    This implies the operation of chaotic nonlinear dynamics. The fractal signature of nonlinear pattern systems had a characteristic log-log form. For example, small volcanoes are common. Volcanoes an order of magnitude bigger are a log order less frequent. Another order bigger eruptions are yet another order less frequent, and so on. Where you see this log-log relationship it is likely that some chaotic nonlinear dynamic underlies the system.

    Flood basalts like the Siberian traps are the biggest volcanic events barring the separation of the moon, and also the rarest, there has been the Siberian, the Indian, and I’ll need a geologist to tell me if there are any others.

    But with the chaotic-fractal paradigm there is no need to evoke an external cause. The system itself produces phenomena with a log-log scale of magnitude.

  108. “kcrucible: You missed the point. In human terms 60,000 years is a very long time. However, I was talking about 60,000 years in relation to the total age of the earth. ”

    I didn’t miss the point, I’m simply saying that it’s meaningless. Whether 60,000 year is a long time in the global or cosmic scheme of things is pretty much irrelevant when we’re discussing the lives of living things, since these living things haven’t even existed during most of it. The time period of the earth is a drop in the bucket compared to the universe too… by that measure, the entire geological record is a flash in the pan. But who cares?? Saying something is “virtually instantaneous” in comparison to the age of the universe means nothing to a species which will begat between 480 to 4320 generations during that “instant” being referred to. It’s about context, and in the context of living things that 12,000 to 108,000 years is a practical eternity.

    “Instantaneous” in this context is a misguided rhetorical flourish for geologists. I just resent them hijacking perfectly good language, especially when the purpose is to scare people. This is as non-instantaneous compared to the the human experience as you can get so it’s really inappropriate for the purpose. Nothing has a “geologic perspective.”

    “With such a short extinction timeline, Bowring says it is possible that a single, catastrophic pulse of magmatic activity triggered an almost instantaneous collapse of all global ecosystems.”

    “Short”… oh yeah, very short… you know, just 100,000 years maybe. A “single pulse” that went on how long? There are a lot of verbs and adjectives trying to get across the feel of an asteroid hit that kills off all life within a year or two from extreme trauma to the climate from a single event. Nothing described here really screams “instantaneous collapse” to me though.

    To reframe it for illustrative purposes: It’d be something like me claiming that -5 degrees F is really warm so people should stop complaining about the weather (well, it IS really warm compared to the temperature in deep space, so you know, I’m right!)

    I just find it head-shaking, that’s all. If humanity survives another 12,000 years I’ll be amazed, and it won’t have anything to do with CO2 emissions killing off the entire planet over a rapid 60,000 years.

  109. Sheesh. Everybody knows the extinction was caused by a meteor strike near the Falklands, when the southern tip of Africa was nearby. The impact was nearly vertical, causing a shock wave through the mantle that reached the surface as the Siberian traps, so the traps were caused by the impact/shock wave and in turn led to the heating of the oceans, killing off marine life. The vertical impact, like a rock tossed straight up onto a thinly frozen pond, caused several upwellings of magma in South Africa, depositing the concentration of heavy metals found there. It’s all so very, very obvious. ;)

  110. So the climate changed due to natural causes and (most likely) this led to the extinction. The climate change was probably caused by a significant volcanic event. However, every volcanic event we experience leads, at least in the short term, to global cooling due to the large quantities of ash put into the atmosphere. So………was it cooling or warming? Also volcanos put out massive quantities of sulphur in the form of sulphur dioxide so if ocean acidification was to occur why wouldn’t that be due to this instead. I might be wrong, but it really looks like the researchers are starting with the assumption that climate can only change due to Carbon Dioxide and then when they see a potential change in climate, they take it as proof positive of carbon dioxide related greenhouse warming.

  111. Peter Foster on February 11, 2014 at 9:22 am

    A very compelling antithesis. The P-T (and other?) extinctions from CO2 starvation, not excess. And the Siberian flood basalt the hero, not villain.

  112. milodonharlani says:
    February 11, 2014 at 6:47 am

    The idea I recall was the impact occurred on the exact opposite side of the Earth, and the shock waves traveled to the other side in the location of the Siberian Traps. The disruption of the crust would be strong at that location because of wave superposition. Since I didn’t recall any impact site being mentioned, it seemed to me an impact in an ocean would be most likely. However, the link I provided claimed evidence for an impact in what is now Australia. The story says a 150 mi diameter crater was found off the NW coast and large shocked quartz grains were found nearby at the P/T boundary. The text indicates there is no iridium associated with this P/T crater. A similar volcanic event (Deccan Traps) in what is now India occurred simultaneously with the K/T impact at Chicxulub. At the time of the K/T impact, the Indian land mass was roughly opposite what is now Yucatan.

    It seems hard to be sure what the Earth really looked like 250 million years ago, but the last two maps together seem to provide a reasonable view of the Siberian Traps relative to land masses we know now and where they were at the P/T boundary. If the hypothesis of an impact followed by crustal fracturing due to shock wave superposition on the opposite side of the world is valid, then it would appear the NW Australian impact crater was in the wrong spot. The real culprit would have been of the coast of what is now Sydney in a location about where NZ would be if it had existed then. (Did that impact initiate the formation of New Zealand?) And accordingly, the NW impact might have been a companion event.

    Well that was fun!

    Here’s the NW Australia impact link again

    http://www.astrobio.net/exclusive/969/piecing-together-a-permian-impact

    map 65 million years ago

    http://forum.celestialmatters.org/viewtopic.php?t=205

    map 250 million years ago

    http://www.asianscientist.com/in-the-lab/earth-hot-mass-extinction-250-million-years/

    Siberian Traps map

    http://www.nature.com/ngeo/journal/v4/n2/fig_tab/ngeo1069_F1.html

  113. Inre: Planet “Nibiru” background check:

    “The idea was first put forward in 1995 by Nancy Lieder,[2][3] founder of the website ZetaTalk. Lieder describes herself as a contactee with the ability to receive messages from extra-terrestrials from the Zeta Reticuli star system through an implant in her brain. She states that she was chosen to warn mankind that the object would sweep through the inner Solar System in May 2003 (though that date was later abandoned) causing Earth to undergo a pole shift that would destroy most of humanity. The prediction has subsequently spread beyond Lieder’s website and has been embraced by numerous Internet doomsday groups, most of which linked the event to the 2012 phenomenon.”

    “The idea of the Nibiru encounter originated with Nancy Lieder, a Wisconsin woman who claims that as a girl she was contacted by gray extraterrestrials called Zetas, who implanted a communications device in her brain. In 1995, she founded the website ZetaTalk to disseminate her ideas.[4] Lieder first came to public attention on Internet newsgroups during the build-up to Comet Hale–Bopp’s 1997 perihelion. She stated, claiming to speak as the Zetas, that “The Hale-Bopp comet does not exist. It is a fraud, perpetrated by those who would have the teeming masses quiescent until it is too late. Hale-Bopp is nothing more than a distant star, and will draw no closer.”[5] She claimed that the Hale-Bopp story was manufactured to distract people from the imminent arrival of a large planetary object, “Planet X”, which would soon pass by Earth and destroy civilization.[5] After Hale-Bopp’s perihelion revealed it as one of the brightest and longest-observed comets of the last century,[6] Lieder removed the first two sentences of her initial statement from her site, though they can still be found in Google’s archives.[5] Her claims eventually made the New York Times.[7]“

  114. daddylonglegs says:
    February 11, 2014 at 12:38 pm
    Bill Illis says:
    February 11, 2014 at 12:33 pm
    Its hard to describe just how big the Siberian Traps volcanoes were.
    Do we have any idea what initiates such flood basalts?
    ———————————

    Some of the newest continental plate reconstructions have 3 plates converging right at the main Siberian Traps region to form the new large plate of EurAsia. Europe/Eastern Russia, East Siberia and SouthEast Asia were separate plates which came together in one big collision right at the time of the eruptions and at the location of the Siberian Traps.

    I imagine large sections of the crust got rapidly subducted deep into the mantle where they were melted completely and being of higher water concentrations and lighter material, these sections were then rapidly ejected back out.

    Some of the larger flood basalts (including the slightly earlier Emeshian Traps of southeast Asia at 260 million years ago which is likely tied into this very same collision) may be the result of similar large-scale subduction events. It might take several million years for the mantle melting to fully come into effect after the collisions. The process either happens at a very, very large scale in a short time (flood basalt event) or it happens more slowly over time and there is just new volcano created island/subcontinents.

  115. ,,,,,which likely reflected a massive addition of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere. This dramatic change may have led to widespread ocean acidification and increased sea temperature by 10 degrees Celsius …..

    I would like to point out the lines in my poem AL GORE — AMERICAN BLOVIATOR. i started with —

    “Carbon dioxide is filling the air!
    And there is no escaping! — its everywhere!”

    And a few lines down I said —

    “If acid rain scared you THINK ABOUT THIS!
    Oceans acidic and warmer than piss!”

    Eugene WR Gallun

  116. Let me repeat something I noticed in the paper and commented on upstream. The paper measured light carbon (carbon has several isotopes), which is from organic matter. It did not measure CO2. It made a huge unsubstantiated leap to CO2 based on the pulse of organic matter sourced light carbon measured in the sediment. In essence this was a naked nod to its funding source with the hope that people would do exactly what they did here in this thread, get all worked up over CO2 (remember, any press is good press). What we should be doing is exposing the errors made in this paper and force a retraction.

  117. Right on, B.P., as usual. Volcanoes do not produce “light” Carbon. They produce the entire earth spectrum of Carbon isotopes. Life preferentially absorbs and concentrates 12C=lite. When a lot of things die, the lite beer is released back into the ocean. What they actually found was that the marine extinction began 10,000 years earlier.

    It was an extraordinary extinction and it does indeed beg an extraordinary explanation. Unfortunately, we have no clue, and certainly no more so for their work. The Siberian “Traps” ( I hate that word) were just another large igneous province. Like the Deccan province in India generally in the time frame of the Dinosaur extinction, it happened to be on land. Several larger provinces have happened on the ocean floor without huge extinctions.

    They are just spiraling out of control.

  118. Whether the extinction occurred as a result of vulcanism changing the ocean and atmospheric chemistry, or if CO2 eventually (after 10,000s of years) caused warming of 10 degrees, the fact is that the study shows that the circumstances are very different from the current situation. It is therefore not an anomaly for AGW, and provides no conclusive evidence of the implications for increasing CO2 in the atmosphere.

  119. “Not being a volcanologist I tried to find out what volcanoes emit?

    The most abundant gas typically released into the atmosphere from volcanic systems is water vapor (H2O), followed by carbon dioxide (CO2) and sulfur dioxide (SO2). Volcanoes also release smaller amounts of others gases, including hydrogen sulfide (H2S), hydrogen (H2), carbon monoxide (CO), hydrogen chloride (HCL), hydrogen fluoride (HF), and helium (He).

    http://volcanoes.usgs.gov/hazards/gas/

    The IPCC has informed of the following.

    IPCC
    Water vapour is the most important greenhouse gas, and carbon dioxide (CO2) is the second-most important one.

    http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/wg1/en/faq-1-3.html

    I hear there was life threatening global warming at the time too.”

    I really have a problem with the claim that global warming 252 million years ago killed all life in a great zone on both sides of equator.
    Well we know today that getting above 30 deg C is pretty difficult without getting clouds, Cu, Cu nimbus that effectively stops the sun from warming the surface and atmosphere further. Further warming could only possible if the source of the warming was on Earth?

  120. Clif Westin says:
    February 11, 2014 at 10:59 am

    You should all see this Documentary!!!!

    I’ve been pointing to this for years. I’ve posted it here a couple of times and at Real Climate (what fun that was). This wonderful documentary covered this topic years ago (he determined it was a 75,000 year timeline…it’s the last 1/8th of this documentary which starts out talking about an Asteroid as a possible culprit, watch towards the end). http://topdocumentaryfilms.com/day-earth-nearly-died/ (if you can’t sit through it all, the summary starts at the 35:00 part, but his due diligence is awesome, wonder where he is now)

    Watched it – it rocks. Its striking how prominent the 23,000 year precession signature is in rock formations – making visible bands. So this “Milankovich” forcing is not only involved in glacial-interglacial timing but throughout the geological record.

  121. Hoser says:
    February 11, 2014 at 6:42 pm

    The Antarctic’s Wilke’s Land under ice crater could be up to four times the size of the Chicxulub crater. Some years ago I spent some time in trying to follow the movements of the continental plates over the last 250 million years and it appears that the Antarctic Wilkes Land impact if it actually occurred, was almost opposite or antipodal some 250 million years ago, to the location of the Siberian traps.
    Wiki has quite a write up on the Wilkes land crater and it’s possible association with the Siberian Traps volcanic province and the extinction event all of about the same era.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wilkes_Land_crater

  122. Bill Illis says:
    February 11, 2014 at 6:51 pm
    daddylonglegs says:
    February 11, 2014 at 12:38 pm
    Bill Illis says:
    February 11, 2014 at 12:33 pm
    Its hard to describe just how big the Siberian Traps volcanoes were.
    Do we have any idea what initiates such flood basalts?
    ———————————

    Some of the newest continental plate reconstructions have 3 plates converging right at the main Siberian Traps region to form the new large plate of EurAsia. Europe/Eastern Russia, East Siberia and SouthEast Asia were separate plates which came together in one big collision right at the time of the eruptions and at the location of the Siberian Traps.

    I imagine large sections of the crust got rapidly subducted deep into the mantle where they were melted completely and being of higher water concentrations and lighter material, these sections were then rapidly ejected back out.

    Some of the larger flood basalts (including the slightly earlier Emeshian Traps of southeast Asia at 260 million years ago which is likely tied into this very same collision) may be the result of similar large-scale subduction events. It might take several million years for the mantle melting to fully come into effect after the collisions. The process either happens at a very, very large scale in a short time (flood basalt event) or it happens more slowly over time and there is just new volcano created island/subcontinents.

    Thanks. So when plates converge or collide head on, either you get a flood basalt linked to subduction, or sometimes you get up-thrusted mountains as in the case of India and the Himalayas. What factor would determine which? Sorry for all the questions!

    Put another way, how do you determine the NHTSA / NCAR “crash-test” rating of a tectonic plate?

  123. daddylonglegs says:
    February 12, 2014 at 5:49 am

    There are important differences between collision of continental plates & a continental plate overriding an oceanic plate. Oceanic crust subduction produces volcanoes, as here in Chile & in the Pacific NW, or the whole Ring of Fire for that matter. Continental collisions crumble up hard rock mountains rather than igneous basalt, as in the case of the Himalayas you cite.

    The margins of the colliding North American & Eurasian plates lie in NE Siberia, east of the Verkhoyansk Range. Meanwhile, the same two plates are pulling apart near Iceland.

    The Miocene flood basalts of the Pacific NW are widely thought to have been caused by the North American plate´s passage over the Yellowstone hotspot.

  124. It is far more likely that the sun caused it but they don’t dare examine that because there is no way they can tax us to ‘fix’ the sun.

  125. Steve In Tulsa says:
    February 12, 2014 at 7:40 am

    Maybe not solar magnetic field flux, but change in earth’s might have contributed to the disaster, thanks to the cosmic ray effect on clouds:

    http://ea.c.u-tokyo.ac.jp/earth/Members/Isozaki/09Illawarra-GR.pdf

    Not what the carbon dioxide crowd wants to read.

    In the 1990s, Isozaki studied evidence of progressive anoxia in Panthalassa, starting in its depths & creeping toward the surface. In this century, he looked at a mantle superplume to explain both the Middle Permian and end Permian extinctions, with associated Large Igneous Provinces.

    CO2 comes off as more of a bit player than the main driver in his scenario.

  126. milodonharlani says:
    February 11, 2014 at 4:37 pm
    What might be a big but not well dated crater has been found under Wilkes Land ice, but evidence for ET impact, not so much.

    Australian-Oregonian paleopedologist (paleosol expert) Dr. Gregory Retallack has IMO pretty conclusively shown that the Wilkes Land feature is not a mass extinction killer from outer space:

    Well, what he says sounds a bit different:
    “We investigated the possible role of impact by an extraterrestrial bolide through chemical and mineralogical characterization of boundary breccias, search for shocked quartz, and analysis for iridium in Permian-Triassic boundary sections at Graphite Peak and Mount Crean, Antarctica, and Wybung Head, Australia.”
    According to his investigation
    – the breccias “at all three locations are interpreted as redeposited soil rather than impact ejecta.”
    – “shocked quartz”,…. “is an order of magnitude less abundant (0.2 vol%) and smaller (only as much as 176 micrometers m diameter) than shocked quartz at some Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary sites.”
    – ” iridium “anomalies”” … ” are an order of magnitude less than iridium anomalies at some Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary sites. ”
    he does not find convincing evidence for the impact theory and concludes: “The idea that impact caused the extinctions thus remains to be demonstrated convincingly. ”

    This is not yet enough to prove the event did not happen but is evidence against it. When looking at an impact crater:

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2014/02/05/small-asteroid-slams-into-mars-impact-captured-by-orbiter/

    it is obvious that ejecta is not distributed uniform around it. We do not know exactly how an impact of this magnitude would have behaved.
    If one looks at the positions, it is a long way from Wilkes Land to Graphite Peak, Mount Crean and Wyburg Head too, so it might be that he simply had bad luck.

  127. Lars P. says:
    February 12, 2014 at 10:46 am

    On Pangaea, Australia & Antarctica were contiguous. In the K/T impact, which would have been much less energetic, ejecta went from Mexico to Europe, if not beyond.

    His finding is almost as good as saying it did not happen. At least not in Wilkes Land.

  128. Dear kcrucible,

    In geological terms 108,000 years is close to instantaneous.
    It is 0.043% of the time interval between the present day and the end of the Permian.

  129. Bill Illis:
    “Plate” convergence does not cause flood basalts. Subduction fractionates, dare I say, lighter components like serpentine and granite. Not basalt. Basalt is ocean floor stuff. The entire concept of “plates” is misguided. There is ocean floor, and there is the flotsam of continents. We construe the ocean spreading centers as “plate ” boundaries, but actually the ocean ridges are in constant motion. They are waves, fronts if you will.

    http://geosciencebigpicture.com/2014/02/02/the-pacific-triangle-revisited-the-impact-the-wave/

    Anyway, there is isotopic evidence that the Siberian province is anomalously silicic, having had to burrow through the craton to get up.

  130. kcrucible: As GregK says: 108,000 years is close to instantaneous. To you and the average man on the street that amount of time is “meaningless”. However, to geologists (I am one) it has meaning. Geologists are always aware of the overall time frame of the age of the earth (4. 54 billion years). We deal with it constantly. The only way we can make it understood in terms the layman can understand it to resort to analogy’s like the 24 hour clock I referred to. And by the way: The Earth has been around for approximately 1/3 of the age of the Universe (13.8 billion years). And how would you describe an event that on that time scale that takes less than one second of a day to happen. I saw nothing in that report that even hinted at trying to paint a scary picture. It was a simple statement of a conclusion from the evidence.

  131. All mass extinctions were initiated by changes in surface gravity as explained by the Gravity Theory of Mass Extinction.
    Pangea’s center of mass was moving north crossing the equator. As explained by the GTME this moved the Earth’s core elements, which were previously offset from Earth-centricity, toward their current central position causing a pulse of increasing surface gravity on Pangea.
    This caused a pulse of terrestrial/marine extinction and also lowered sea level sufficiently to disassociate methane from the sea bottom which further increased extinction.
    See http://www.dinoextinct.com/page13.pdf

  132. An example of the sort of marvelous creatures already evolving within four million years of the end Perman catastrophe:

    http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0088640

    While the marine reptiles, including turtles, were evolving at sea, on land the ancestors of mammals, birds, crocs, lizards, snakes, etc. were also developing. This greatest disaster of the past 540 million years made it possible for the Mesozic/Cenozoic fauna & flora, such as flowering plants, to emerge & flourtish.

Comments are closed.