Study: Burning Coal Contributed to the Permo-Triassic Extinction

Here’s an artist’s idea of what the intense volcanic activity in ancient Siberia might have looked like. Many scientists suggest that effects of this volcanism, which lasted some 60,000 years, may have triggered the extinction of most living species. Image: JOSÉ-LUIS OLIVARES/MIT

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

According to a new study, vast quantities of burning coal contributed to the Permo-Triassic Extinction, which killed 70% of all vertebrate species.

Coal-burning in Siberia after volcanic eruption led to climate change 250 million years ago

Date:June 16, 2020

Source: Arizona State University

Summary: A team of researchers has provided the first ever direct evidence that extensive coal burning in Siberia is a cause of the Permo-Triassic Extinction, the Earth’s most severe extinction event.

A team of researchers led by Arizona State University (ASU) School of Earth and Space Exploration professor Lindy Elkins-Tanton has provided the first ever direct evidence that extensive coal burning in Siberia is a cause of the Permo-Triassic Extinction, the Earth’s most severe extinction event. The results of their study have been recently published in the journal Geology.

For this study, the international team led by Elkins-Tanton focused on the volcaniclastic rocks (rocks created by explosive volcanic eruptions) of the Siberian Traps, a region of volcanic rock in Russia. The massive eruptive event that formed the traps is one of the largest known volcanic events in the last 500 million years. The eruptions continued for roughly two million years and spanned the Permian-Triassic boundary. Today, the area is covered by about three million square miles of basaltic rock.

This is ideal ground for researchers seeking an understanding of the Permo-Triassic extinction event, which affected all life on Earth approximately 252 million years ago. During this event, up to 96% of all marine species and 70% of terrestrial vertebrate species became extinct.

Calculations of sea water temperature indicate that at the peak of the extinction, the Earth underwent lethally hot global warming, in which equatorial ocean temperatures exceeded 104 degrees Fahrenheit. It took millions of years for ecosystems to be re-established and for species to recover.

Read more:

The abstract of the study;

Field evidence for coal combustion links the 252 Ma Siberian Traps with global carbon disruption 

L.T. Elkins-Tanton;  S.E. Grasby;  B.A. Black;  R.V. Veselovskiy;  O.H. Ardakani;  F. Goodarzi

The Permian-Triassic extinction was the most severe in Earth history. The Siberian Traps eruptions are strongly implicated in the global atmospheric changes that likely drove the extinction. A sharp negative carbon isotope excursion coincides within geochronological uncertainty with the oldest dated rocks from the Norilsk section of the Siberian flood basalts. We focused on the voluminous volcaniclastic rocks of the Siberian Traps, relatively unstudied as potential carriers of carbon-bearing gases. Over six field seasons we collected rocks from across the Siberian platform, and we show here the first direct evidence that the earliest eruptions in the southern part of the province burned large volumes of a combination of vegetation and coal. We demonstrate that the volume and composition of organic matter interacting with magmas may explain the global carbon isotope signal and may have significantly driven the extinction.

Read more:

The study estimates 6,000-10,000 Gt of carbon was burned. Global production of coal is around 8Gt, so we have a little way to go to catch up with the estimated Permian-Triassic burn.

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June 17, 2020 10:12 am

Models and inference.

Reply to  n.n
June 17, 2020 1:05 pm

More maybe/could be pseudo-science. A metric tonne of speculative claims warmly wrapped in conditional get-out clauses.

We demonstrate that the volume and composition of organic matter interacting with magmas may explain the global carbon isotope signal and may have significantly driven the extinction.

So despite 60 THOUSAND years of spewing ash and sulphate aerosols into the atmosphere ( events typically thought to induce a “nuclear winter” ) it was somehow the daemonic CO2 “drove” the mass extinction.

I’m getting seriously tired of the kind of BS revisionist geology where the whole history of the planet ends up being driven by one single trace gas in the atmosphere.

Reply to  Greg
June 17, 2020 1:44 pm

The claim of 104 F ( ie 40 deg C ) tropical SST seems to be BS. “104” does not appear in the paper cited, nor does “temperature” other than in reference to molten rock.

Media studies freshmen doing the “pop science” version, rewriting what the papers actually report, once again.

Moderately Cross of East Anglia
Reply to  Greg
June 17, 2020 1:58 pm

Exactly right Greg, this predictable nonsense ignores the obvious for a petulant attack on coal. I’m astonished only that they left out burning oil. Straining gnat schist out of pepper.

Reply to  Greg
June 17, 2020 7:28 pm

Extremely well said!

Would love to just give you a “like” but that requires a Disqus plugin or other modern comment system instead of the old, clunky thing used here.

Reply to  stinkerp
June 17, 2020 8:57 pm

I just want to know how the Siberian Traps dug the coal before burning it!

Reply to  stinkerp
June 18, 2020 4:02 pm

I agree. We should be able to updoot. We live in the age of updoots.

Reply to  Greg
June 18, 2020 5:53 am

yeah read it on scialert last night n facepalmed
they found coal charcoal
gee after massive forests burned I find thatd be reasonable
not so much coal burnt as well
though ifthere was any it probably did;-)
my conclusion
so what?

Samuel C Cogar
Reply to  n.n
June 17, 2020 2:22 pm

Source: Arizona State University

This is ideal ground for researchers seeking an understanding of the Permo-Triassic extinction event, which affected all life on Earth approximately 252 million years ago. During this event, up to 96% of all marine species and 70% of terrestrial vertebrate species became extinct.

So, was the reptiles the 30% of terrestrial vertebrate that didn’t become extinct, ….. to wit:

The Permian, Jurassic, Triassic and Cretaceous Periods, which spans from about 252 million years ago to about 66 million years ago, was also known as the age of reptiles or the age of dinosaurs.

Joe Scibiorski
Reply to  Samuel C Cogar
June 17, 2020 9:45 pm

The Permo-Triassic boundary is at approx 252 mya, so the Permian is older than that. The Permian ran from approx 299-252 mya. (But what would I know, I’m a Triassic specialist.)

Samuel C Cogar
Reply to  Joe Scibiorski
June 18, 2020 4:16 am

(But what would I know, I’m a Triassic specialist.)

Joe Scibiorski, then both you and the dinosaurs would have become extinct during the aforesaid Permo-Triassic extinction event, ……. even before you had the opportunity to evolve.

96% of all marine species and ONLY 70% of terrestrial vertebrate, makes no logical sense to me.

Charles Higley
Reply to  n.n
June 18, 2020 7:18 am

The models have one huge deficiency. They neglect that the overall tendency of CO2 is to be precipitated as calcium carbonate and to lower atmospheric CO2 to dangerously low levels for life. I quick look at the ancient atmospheric CO2 concentrations shows a steady downward trend that is only countered occasionally be huge volcanic injections of CO2. We need to stop the ingenuous concept that the world is in some kind of balance—it clearly is not regarding life in Earth.

That said, CO2 or any gas in the atmosphere cannot warm the climate. In fact, as a radiative gas, CO2 and water vapor serve to lower the temperature because, in the real world, we do have night-time during which these gases convert atmospheric energy to outgoing IR radiation, cooling the climate.

James Clarke
June 17, 2020 10:16 am

‘Direct evidence.’ They keep using that phrase. I do not think it means what they think it means.

Curious George
Reply to  James Clarke
June 17, 2020 11:55 am

It is a direct evidence that coal is inherently evil. A little more work will extend it to all fossil fuels, and the Big Oil.

Tiger Bee Fly
June 17, 2020 10:16 am

Burning coal. Not the climate change caused by the volcanoes themselves.

I see. So obvious in retrospect. Rather. Quite right. Hear, hear. /sarc

Reply to  Tiger Bee Fly
June 18, 2020 1:49 pm

Good point, TBF. What about the CO2 released directly from the volcanoes?

June 17, 2020 10:18 am

“The eruptions continued for roughly two million years ”

“The study estimates 6,000-10,000 Gt of carbon was burned. ”

“Global production of coal is around 8Gt, ”


Pat Frank
Reply to  TonyN
June 17, 2020 11:57 am

10,000 GT over 60,000 years of volcanism = 0.17 GT per year. Is that a lot?

Smart Rock
Reply to  Pat Frank
June 17, 2020 12:42 pm

Cone on Pat, get yer facts right, the article says “The eruptions continued for roughly two million years

10,000 Gt over 2 million years is 0.005 Gt/year. Worse than we thought!

Pat Frank
Reply to  Smart Rock
June 17, 2020 1:26 pm

Smart Rock, the picture legend says, “Many scientists suggest that effects of this volcanism, which lasted some 60,000 years may have triggered the extinction of most living species.

The paper itself doesn’t seem to say how long the PT volcanism lasted. The Science News article says 2 million years. Science Mag says ~ 1 million years.

But you’re right, SR, the picture legend misled me. So, 10,000 GT over ~1 million years is 0.01 GT per year. That doesn’t seem like a lot, either.

Reply to  Smart Rock
June 17, 2020 1:26 pm

It’s all very vague but it does not say that the coal was burning for 2 million years. That was stated as the eruptions. Best not to build any straw men, they may be burnt by volcanoes.

… in which equatorial ocean temperatures exceeded 104 degrees Fahrenheit.

That is 40 deg C. Current f/b seem to prevent it getting above about 31 deg. C anywhere on Earth. I’d like to see the basis of this claim.

Tell me it’s not what their climate model said they would get with that much “carbon” in the air.

Reply to  Pat Frank
June 17, 2020 12:52 pm

You see. 0.17 GT per year is enough to have a mass extinction event. Just imagine what 8Gt per year will do. AOC AOC AOC

Charles E Garner Jr
Reply to  Pat Frank
June 17, 2020 12:57 pm

Wait – 10,000 GT over 2×10^6 years. That’s 0.005 GT/Yr. scarcely a whiff.

Reply to  Pat Frank
June 17, 2020 2:39 pm

it is likely not 10000Gt over 60000 years but 10000Gt over a lot shorter period of time. Vegetation would have burnt out right away. Coal would have taken longer but likely not 60000 years.

Michael S. Kelly
Reply to  Agamemnon
June 17, 2020 8:00 pm

At the world’s current rate of coal combustion, it will take 1,168 years to burn 10,000 Gt of coal. 10,000 Gt of coal burned over 60,000 years is 1.9% of the current rate of human use.

Charles Higley
Reply to  Pat Frank
June 18, 2020 7:22 am

No, that’s about 2–0.1 or less % of our global coal production. Piffle. Perhaps it was the enormous exhalation of heat by the planet that raised the temperature.

J Mac
Reply to  TonyN
June 17, 2020 12:22 pm

Clearly, in another 1000 years of projected continuous comparable coal production, we will approach the study (gu)estimate mean for Triassic twit ‘extinction’. Oh the humanity…..

You can ignore the estimated 3 million square miles of 1800F volcanic lava deposited basalt, as its simultaneous contribution to ‘climate change’ was not considered important by the blinkered researchers.

Reply to  J Mac
June 17, 2020 1:03 pm

Wouldn’t there be crust formation soon after every flow isolating it from the atmosphere? Like Sea Ice preventing Arctic ocean heat to escape.

J Mac
Reply to  Robertvd
June 17, 2020 6:34 pm

Are you saying that as soon as a thin crust forms, the entire molten lava deposit underneath stops radiating heat? And when more molten lava flows over the top of that, what happens? Heat continues to radiate from all of it into the atmosphere until the entire 3 million square miles of basalt mass achieved equilibrium with the local average ambient temperature.

John Bell
June 17, 2020 10:35 am

As the climate scare melts away, the alarmists will get more and more desperate, and publish articles like this one, hilarious to watch climate alarmism wither on the vine.

Joe Civis
June 17, 2020 10:39 am

so…. it was the CO2 from the coal and volcanoes that did it and not the heavy smoke that blotted out the sun? I am sending some text messages carved in stone to that period so I can ask for more “direct confirmation” to this question. I will post the reply with photos when I receive it!



June 17, 2020 10:43 am

So, coal burning is natural?

Clay Sanborn
Reply to  ScienceABC123
June 17, 2020 10:59 am

LOL, my thought too. Coal was formed by nature, burns in nature, and therefore is as natural as pie for people to burn it too. This study is tacit approval for Germany to continue their coal program. China is going to do what they want regardless. America should too.

J Mac
Reply to  ScienceABC123
June 17, 2020 7:00 pm

Coal is high BTU density, pure and all natural solid solar power, created and combusted by all natural processes. Black anthracite is the new Green!

June 17, 2020 10:48 am

Coal-burning in Siberia after volcanic eruption led to climate change 250 million years ago

Pangaea or Pangea ( /pænˈdʒiːə/[1]) was a supercontinent that existed during the late Paleozoic and early Mesozoic eras. It assembled from earlier continental units approximately 335 million years ago, and it began to break apart about 175 million years ago.

Was this Siberia, or the part of Pangaea that is now Siberia ?

David More
Reply to  Neo
June 17, 2020 12:39 pm

Neo, Map of Late Permian 255Mya –
Looks like area was an archipelago close to the same Latitude.

Masaitis (1983) estimated their volume to be ~ 4 x 106 km3. Reichow et al. (2002) estimated the present-day volumes to be around 2.3 x 106 km3, but their estimate did not take into account any igneous rocks in the Yenesei-Khatanga Trough, Taimyr Peninsula, or beneath the Kara Sea. Any ‘working estimate’ for the total volume of erupted magmatic products is likely to be at least 3 x106 km3, and possibly as much as 5 x106 km3.
None of these estimates considers the volume of deeply-seated intrusions (e.g. magmatic underplate at the base of the crust, and frozen magma bodies in the lower and middle crust). If the Siberian Traps are analogous to the North Atlantic Igneous Province, it is likely that many million cubic kilometers of material lie buried at depth in the crust or uppermost mantle.

Lava around 3000 KG per m^3 & orange flows getting hotter than 1,600 F, to magma within a volcano can reach 2,120 F.
To many 0’s to carry, but looks like 6,000-10,000 Gt of carbon would be a camp fire in a forest fire.

Bill Zipperer
Reply to  Neo
June 17, 2020 5:28 pm

The second part is correct: the part of Pangea that is now Siberia. About Lat. 45 -70 degrees N.
And from a Science Oct 2012 article it said there was :
“… reveals RAPID warming {of seawater} across the Permian-Triassic boundary [21 to 36 degrees C,
OVER ~0.8 MILLION YEARS (My)]” {my caps}

So now we know what ‘rapid’ means to a geologist.

Bruce Cobb
June 17, 2020 10:52 am

Pure, Grade A, unadulterated horse puckey.

June 17, 2020 10:53 am

“Global production of coal is around 8Gt”
Per year, or total thus far?

Reply to  Anonymoose
June 17, 2020 11:08 am

According to this report: 756.2 million short tons was burned in the US during 2018.

So I’m guessing 8 Gt would be total thus far.

D. J. Hawkins
Reply to  MarkW
June 17, 2020 11:41 am

Annual production is about 4GT. See BP’s Statistical Review, link below.

Total fossil fuels may be in the 8GT range.

So if we take the most intense period of 60,000 years, and divide that into the 10,000 GT then we get about 0.17 GT per year. Yeah, I’m going to suggest they try and find another extinction mechanism, unless they can find evidence that the coal burning was VERY front-end loaded.

Keith Rowe
June 17, 2020 11:14 am

Nah. It was after that it warmed up. It was cold and likely had 2 differently 80m+ drops in sea level indicating massive glaciation. The earth got colder and much drier as the Sulfides filled the air and the rivers that used to have high levels of clay turned into mostly sand and rock. The intense cold started the oceanic conveyor system that upset the stratified oceans. Sulfate studies have shown rapid swings in anoxic and oxic with the deep oceans high carbon content killing 97% of marine species especially devastating ocean shelf life. As most trees had died and ocean life perished, the volatile organics that provide seeding for clouds went away reducing cloudiness resulting in a massive increase in temperatures after the event, and without the seeding to manage energy levels there become an episode of massive storms. Temperature itself has never shown to be a cause of extinction. Parts of the planet would still be colder and life would go on in different places without the massive die offs. Life still sucked for a long long time during the P-T boundary.

June 17, 2020 11:17 am

Let me know when the reparations from Russia come in.

Robert Terrell
June 17, 2020 11:41 am

“Calculations of sea water temperature indicate that at the peak of the extinction, the Earth underwent lethally hot global warming, in which equatorial ocean temperatures exceeded 104 degrees Fahrenheit. It took millions of years for ecosystems to be re-established and for species to recover.”

As reported by WHO? Did someone just return from field studies, some millions of years in the past, to ‘confirm; this BS? Also, I’s say that 104 degrees would be just about right for a nice warm bath! The alarmist’s are running out of believers, so they had to make up a NEW scenario to keep the fear porn alive and well! What’s next, I wonder.

Reply to  Robert Terrell
June 17, 2020 1:38 pm

And even if it had that temperature at the surface what would be the temperature at a depth of 100 meters?

Alasdair Fairbairn
June 17, 2020 11:51 am

It appears that Big Brother has issued a mandatory requirement that all climate related scientific articles should include a reference to CO2 global warming, in order to qualify for publication. The damage to scientific reputation will be considerable.
A good breeding ground for sceptics?

Tom Abbott
June 17, 2020 11:54 am

From the article: “Summary: A team of researchers has provided the first ever direct evidence that extensive coal burning in Siberia is a cause of the Permo-Triassic Extinction, the Earth’s most severe extinction event.”

Yeah, that, and two million years worth of the biggest volcanic eruptions in history.

I don’t think we will have to worry about such a scenario in the near future. Maybe in another couple of hundred million years.

I guess this is a good time to remind folks that if we could somehow burn every fossil fuel available to us in one day, including all the coal, it would not raise the CO2 level over about 800ppm.

The current level of CO2 in the Earth’s atmosphere is about 410ppm. So humans could barely manage to double the CO2 content if we burned all the fossil fuels tomorrow.

If you go by the new Russian climate computer model, doubling CO2 from current levels would raise the temperature by 1.8C, which is not even close to being catastrophic. And then of course, the Russian model may run too hot, itself (it’s the coolest of all the others). Some calculations put the temperature of a doubling of CO2 down near zero.

In other words, there is nothing to worry about concerning the Earth’s climate and fossil fuels. Not that the alarmists would ever admit that.

Reply to  Tom Abbott
June 17, 2020 12:28 pm

Also, even if enough coal did exist to double and redouble again the CO2 in the atmosphere, due to the logarithmic decrease in effect, do the highest Climate sensitivities support 100 degree ocean temperatures? Don’t think so.

John rosa
June 17, 2020 12:22 pm

A volcano in California erupted around 1984. Volcanic rock from this eruption has been tested several times.
All test results have shown this rock hardened over one million years ago. My reading of the Bible has determined the heavens and the Earth were created roughly 16,500 years ago.
I suggest the Bible is more reliable than modern testing. Read “IN SIX DAYS”.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  John rosa
June 17, 2020 1:01 pm

A volcano in California? Erupted around 1984? Just what volcano might this have been? Think carefully because it will speak to your credibility.

Bret Highum
Reply to  Clyde Spencer
June 17, 2020 2:07 pm

Google tells me Moana Loa and Kilauea erupted in 1984. Maybe what he’s referring to?
Just a touch further west than California…

Otherwise, maybe Mount St. Helens back in 1980? Getting closer, just a couple states to the north.

James Francisco
Reply to  John rosa
June 17, 2020 7:05 pm

I was living in CA in 1984. I must have missed the news that day.

Russell Dyer
Reply to  John rosa
June 17, 2020 8:00 pm

Weak, not even a nice try, troll, trying to make this site look bad!

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  John rosa
June 22, 2020 9:00 pm


I’m still waiting for a reply, which I don’t expect to ever see. I was living in California in 1984 and I’m a geologist. Therefore, I’d be quite aware (I was at Mt. St. Helens 24 hours after its eruption.) of any eruption.

What motivates someone like yourself to drop anti-truth bombs on a science blog? If your IQ was even 90 you should realize you will be challenged when you have nothing to back up your claims. You make ambiguous claims — “Volcanic rock … has been tested several times.” — that are meaningless. What do you hope to accomplish with such statement?

Joachim Lang
June 17, 2020 12:28 pm

The atmosphere currently contains approx. 415ppm CO2. The sudden combustion of 10,000 Gt coal would increase the CO2 content of the atmosphere by approx. 4700ppm. Currently, natural processes remove CO2 from the atmosphere every year. This removal corresponds to approximately 2ppm / year (16 Gt / year) . The volcanic eruptions back then were said to have lasted around 60,000 years. So there was enough time that the atmospheric co2 content could constantly adapt to a lower content.
The eruption of the Tambora volcano in 1815 led to global cooling and the following year 1816 is known as the year without a summer. If CO2 really is such a potent greenhouse gas, the dinosaurs would probably have been very pleased with a slightly higher atmospheric content.

Reply to  Joachim Lang
June 17, 2020 2:01 pm

400 -> 800 = 1ºC
800 -> 1600 = 2ºC
1600 -> 3200 = 3ºC
3200 -> 6400 = 4ºC

So max warming would be between 3 ºC and 4 ºC

Joachim Lang
Reply to  Robertvd
June 17, 2020 6:36 pm

I think the release of CO2 has taken place like the volcanic eruptions for several thousand years. If the release lasted 4700 years, only about 1ppm of CO2 would have been released each year. For natural processes, it would be no problem to extract this CO2 from the atmosphere at the same speed. The atmospheric CO2 content would change only minimally.
The climate would rather cool down due to the ash and SO2 emitted by the volcanoes.

old white guy
June 17, 2020 12:36 pm

Let’s hope the interior of the planet is now much cooler. The one thing that some future generation will have to worry about is freezing to death and the dry dead rock that earth will become. We can read all the science we wish but that will be the outcome. How many millions of years it will be, no one knows, but it will be. That is for all those out there who really think they have all the answers and that anything they say really matters. Oh, and for all those who think there is such a thing as a perpetual motion machine. Nothing is forever and you don’t need a PHD to grasp that.

June 17, 2020 12:38 pm

“The study estimates 6,000-10,000 Gt of carbon was burned. Global production of coal is around 8Gt, so we have a little way to go to catch up with the estimated Permian-Triassic burn”

Also, now we know that the 100-year timeline of the IPCC is a litte to short by orders of magnitude. And now we see more evidence of a climate science obsession with atmos CO2 as the cause of everything bad because that’s how their climate model works.

Rud Istvan
June 17, 2020 1:08 pm

Butscept this is NOT the first direct evidence that Siberian coal burning was a factor in this extinction event. That evidence was provided by China some years ago in the form of coal ash and soot in Mongolia at the P/T boundary. And, as for marine life extinction, a number of papers have showed that it wasn’t ocean warming, but rather sharp ‘acidification’ from the massive SO2 released by volcanism that was the primary cause.

Randle Dewees
June 17, 2020 1:18 pm

Be nice to have that coal now

June 17, 2020 1:21 pm

“We demonstrate that the volume and composition of organic matter interacting with magmas may explain the global carbon isotope signal and may have significantly driven the extinction.”

Is English comprehension worse than we thought in universities today?

If some phenomenon “MAY” explain a particular observed effect, that means that that phenomenon does not exactly explain the effect at all.
Any number of other phenomena “MAY” also explain the observed effect.

(Geez I hope governments are so stretched for funds after the WuFlu recessions that they have to cut all research grants for everything except health, agriculture, energy production and engineering).

John Cooknell
June 17, 2020 1:23 pm

Amazing truly unbelievable science.

June 17, 2020 1:31 pm

More research based upon quicksand.

“We demonstrate that the volume and composition of organic matter interacting with magmas may explain the global carbon isotope signal and may have significantly driven the extinction.”

First, they use confirmation bias to assume a major conclusion.

“The study estimates 6,000-10,000 Gt of carbon was burned.”

Then they estimate how much coal must burn to fuel their their dubious calculations to support their colossal belief needs.

“Calculations of sea water temperature indicate that at the peak of the extinction, the Earth underwent lethally hot global warming”

They use their faux numbers to reach what they believe is a deadly scenario.
No indication of how they determine what oceanic temperatures are necessary to decimate life into extinction.

N.B. they never bother to explain why global warming is the only method to heat ocean water. A terribly inefficient process to heat oceans, especially with the atmosphere filled with highly reflective sulfuric compounds.

June 17, 2020 1:45 pm

We have space rocks passing through solar system from outside solar system. And billions of space rock within our solar system. And Earth has been hit by space rocks and very likely Earth was hit by the billions of space rock which are in solar system.
But what is chance of Earth being hit by large space rock from outside of solar system?
The chance of getting hit by any large space rock is very low. One say less chance then winning the lottery but like lottery one get low value winning. So in terms of being hit small rock, that going to happen often and larger the space rock the less chance of Earth impacting by it.
So roughly Earth get hit by small space rocks monthly, and a bigger small rock yearly, something like the somewhat recent Russia impactor, in terms decades. And something like Tunguska event in terms centuries,
and bigger one in terms thousands of years, and etc.
So if looking timescale of ten millions of years, you going to have tens of millions of small space rocks hitting Earth and far less of the bigger space rocks hitting Earth, and unlikely to get space rock hitting Earth as large as the rock that killed the dinosaurs.
So in terms getting hit by a larger space rock from beyond our solar system, one need idea of how many are passing through solar system- and a large amount of them will be smaller space rocks, ones we detect are going closer to Earth and larger than most of smaller space rocks {because can’t detect smaller rocks unless get close to Earth- and not uncommon fairly rocks to flyby earth fairly close and only detect them after they missed hitting Earth. So been detected rocks larger than 1 km which stay fairly close enough to detect them and probably have detected and plotted say +90% of them, and roughly goal is focus of finding space larger than 140 km in diameter and larger, I guess less 50% of those have been plotted. And we have not hit by 140 meter space rock or larger within probably centuries, and perhaps not within a thousand years. But more than thousand years it increasingly becomes more likely, and seems likely guess it would be have the family of rocks which spend a lot time within relatively near region of Earth {or near the Sun}- rather than comets or rather rocks coming from outside solar system.
But if talking 100 millions of years the chances things as unlikely space rock coming from outside solar system and hitting Earth become more likely.
But in general terms expecting dinosaur killing like rock not hitting Earth every 100 million year, is not realistic, or we would be lucky if didn’t happen. You want find the crater, just like you want to find the bullet that killed someone. Pretty easy to find bullet hole in dead person, and usually easy to find bullet also.
It seems to me we spent more time and effort looking for the space rock that hit Earth, though not enough, and less effort finding the needle in haystacks of Space rocks which hit rock. No doubt certainly better to look the rock could kill people. But can say neither are getting the trillions dollars per year wasted on this CO2 emission religion.
Or we in living in Ice Age. CO2 emission is non issue. 250 million year has volcanic evidence, but impactor can cause volcanic activity not mention global earthquakes, and incinerate of continents. If big enough the boiling of oceans- Dino-killer was not really a huge space rock. And smaller space rock than dino-killer coming from beyond solar system, can be far more powerful. Or dino killer could be smaller rock coming outside of solar system {though more likely it wasn’t}.
Anyways 100 years ago, no thought space rocks could hit earth {and they were occurring on monthly basis].
And global warming is old theory {+100 year} which is utter nonsense.

Mike Dubrasich
June 17, 2020 1:59 pm

The Late Paleozoic Icehouse, aka the Karoo Ice Age, lasted the entire Carboniferous and most of the Permian epochs, a span of 100 million years.

The Pangaean supercontinent south of the Paleotethys Ocean included proto-Anarctica, -Australia, and -India all of which clustered near the South Pole and were ice-bound. It wasn’t until Pangaea broke apart (into Godwanaland, Laurasia, Cimmeria, and various other blocks) at the Permian-Triassic boundary that the LPI finally came to an end.

The Earth did not experience Icehouse conditions again until the Pleistocene — a span of roughly 250 million years. During that quarter of a billion years the Earth was 20°F warmer on average than today.

Note that the Permian extinctions were mostly trilobites. Terrestrial vetebrates including dinosaurs, birds, and mammals as well as flowering plants arose later, during the 250-million-year Warmth that is now kaput, done with, and over — unless humanity can find a way to repair the damaged climate and get our planet back to Thermic Normality, i.e. 20°F warmer.

June 17, 2020 2:09 pm

So coal wiped out a lot of critters that would have stopped the evolution of humans? Wouldn’t that be good in weirdo-world?

All ensuing fauna would be spared from going on extinction rebellion marches.

June 17, 2020 3:39 pm

Another 2 million year long coal burning orgy isn’t in the cards…no matter how much China would like it to be.

June 17, 2020 3:39 pm

Arizona study says “During this event, up to 96% of all marine species and 70% of terrestrial vertebrate species became extinct.”

Not the only publicized study this year. There has been another. A Berkeley team says there was a 300,000 to 400,000 years lag between the hemispheres. That’s an event? First paper made it seem like it all happened at once.

“In Earth’s largest extinction, land die-offs began long before ocean turnover … Though most scientists believe that a series of volcanic eruptions, occurring in large pulses over a period of a million years in what is now Siberia, were the primary cause of the end-Permian extinction, the lag between the land extinction in the Southern Hemisphere and the marine extinction in the Northern Hemisphere suggests different immediate causes. … that the start of the terrestrial turnover happened so long before the marine extinction was a surprise.”

Robert A. Gastaldo et al. The base of the Lystrosaurus Assemblage Zone, Karoo Basin, predates the end-Permian marine extinction, Nature Communications (2020). DOI: 10.1038/s41467-020-15243-7

Michael Jankowski
June 17, 2020 5:21 pm

I remember when the scientific consensus blamed coal burning for global cooling and then obscuring global warming.

John Bruyn
June 17, 2020 5:28 pm

No need to consider that. The extinction was from the Permian (Karoo) glaciation caused by Pangaea covering the south pole, causing snow and ice accumulation, for sea levels to drop below the continental shelves and for Pangaea to dry out. It was part of the roughly 300 million year supercontinent cycle that is caused by the changing orbital inclinations of Jupiter (318 E-mass) and Saturn (95 E-mass) varying Earth’s orbits and the speed of its rotation. Slowing down has a warming effect and makes Earth more rounded; speeding up has a cooling effect and makes the Earth more oblate. The warming of the Triassic was caused by the consequential start of the breakup of Pangaea with volcanic activity melting the polar ice caps, increasing sea levels and causing further warming by flooding of the continental shelves increasing coastal habitats and evaporation to create an explosion of life in the ocean and on land. It was from the same causes as the Cambrian explosion of life – the breakup of Pannotia.
I have just written about the current scenario on

Reply to  John Bruyn
June 18, 2020 11:13 am

Nope, The glaciation ended about 40 million years before the extinction.

John Robertson
June 17, 2020 5:35 pm

So that is “modern science”?
Or is this more Climatology?
Well I guess we had better dig up all the coal we can locate and burn it as quickly as possible so it cannot “trigger” another Extinction event.
For we know volcanic action is only a question of when,not if.(Certain time scales apply).
The logical follow on from this speculation is we must consume all the coal,before it kills us all…
Burn the Witch..I mean Coal.

Serge Wright
June 18, 2020 12:42 am

One can only hope that the burning of coal by humans today will cause the green’s extinction

June 18, 2020 1:40 am

“Many scientists suggest that effects of this volcanism, which lasted some 60,000 years, may have triggered the extinction of most living species”

Hmm. I’d suggest nearly all scientists (however defined) have never heard of this episode.
I would like Elkins-Stanton et al to cite fifty previously published peer-reviewed articles that support this theory. Can’t find fifty, then don’t claim “many”.

Reply to  OldCynic
June 18, 2020 8:56 am

I think they have. It was the largest of all extinctions and it seems very likely that it was in some way related to the Siberian Traps, but the actual killing mechanism is very unclear.

Just Jenn
June 18, 2020 4:25 am

“It took millions of years for ecosystems to be re-established and for species to recover.”

What about all that life that adjusted to 2 million years of volcanoes? They NEVER recovered. But apparently the species that evolved to live with erupting volcanoes for 2MY don’t count right?

Recovered from WHAT EXACTLY? I would counter that entire ecosystems went extinct, never to return after the volcanoes stopped erupting.

Still pontificating on when the Garden actually existed and trying to get all of us back there are we?

I want to know why those volcanos were erupting for 2 million years.

June 18, 2020 6:05 am

Here is where i get confused,
All the carbon in coal (Dead plants) came from the atmosphere. But when that carbon gets back into the atmosphere that same carbon would now cause massive warming when it didn’t do that before.

How does that work?

Stay sane,

June 18, 2020 6:21 am

What happened to all the unemployed coal miners when the Permo-Triassic period finished?

J Mac
Reply to  Roy
June 19, 2020 5:17 pm

They learned ‘coding’, as Obama bin Biden urged them to do.

June 18, 2020 7:40 am

Oh good Lord, these “studies”……… Anyone involved in these types of climatastrophy-studies should be ashamed of getting paid (stealing) money for them.

June 18, 2020 8:43 am

By the way there is no coal deposits in the Tunguska Basin where the Siberian Traps erupted. The coal is further south in the Kuznetsk Basin. There are organics in the shales in the Tunguska Basin, but no coal.

There are also very large deposits of sulfates and halite so the volcanoes erupting through these layers probably carried lots of things much nastier than CO2 into the atmosphere. Things like mercury, sulfuric acid, hydrochloric aci, hydrofluoric acid and aromatic hydrocarbons.

June 18, 2020 8:52 am

Another silly thing. I’ve seen that illustration of what the Siberian Traps eruptions are supposed to have looked like any number of times, and of course it is completely wrong. These were plateau basalts erupting through fissures, so no volcanic cones. It looked more like this, though on a larger scale:

comment image

Reply to  tty
June 19, 2020 6:38 am

No permission for your link….

June 18, 2020 8:56 am

I wonder if we could get a cost analysis of this purposeless study and suggest where the money could have been spent on something of actual value to humankind.

June 18, 2020 11:33 am

I suppose that the thermal heat alone from the Siberian Traps over 3 million sq miles of erupting volcanic activity was also enough to raise the global atmospheric/ocean temperatures over longer the frames. Based upon the amount of coal burnt over a minimum 60,000 years, perhaps 2 million years, it wouldn’t be that much different from the amount of coal we burn today on an annual basis. In fact taking their worst case example of 10,000 Gt burnt over 60,000 years would be (6 GT/Yr) less than coal burnt per year than we currently burn, which is estimated at 8 Gt per year. Time scale is everything.

Similarly, the Deccan Traps in India, which were maybe half the size and half the time that they erupted as compared to the Siberian Traps, are thought to have had the dinosaurs in significant decline before the Mt. Everest sized asteroid hit the Gulf of Mexico off of Mexico. So the dinosaurs were already under immense pressure from the Deccan Traps just before they got completely wiped out and mammals inherited the good Earth. Usually, it is a combination of things leading the decline, and then Murphy’s Law applies.

“The Deccan Traps began forming 66.25 million years ago, at the end of the Cretaceous period. The bulk of the volcanic eruption occurred at the Western Ghats some 66 million years ago. This series of eruptions may have lasted fewer than 30,000 years.”

“The original area covered by the lava flows is estimated to have been as large as 1.5 million km2 (0.58 million sq mi), approximately half the size of modern India. The Deccan Traps region was reduced to its current size by erosion and plate tectonics; the present area of directly observable lava flows is around 500,000 km2 (200,000 sq mi).”,some%2066%20million%20years%20ago.

June 21, 2020 12:00 pm

The Siberian flood basalt eruption was a reality.
But research by Bjorn Baresel et al 2017

has shown that the mass extinction event actually happened during a short ice age, during which sea levels fell (a “regression”). And atmospheric CO2 fell to a low level during this time.

But cooling events are not cool – politically it is mandated that all catastrophes have to look like human-made global warming.
So once again science serves up what the politicians demand – good doggie!

June 21, 2020 12:04 pm

And Elkins-Tanton et al 2020 (above featured paper) don’t even mention Baresel et al 2017 in their reference list. More supposed scientific papers reading more like election manifestos.

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