Volcanic Eruptions May Have Helped Survive The Greatest Mass Extinction Ever
Volcanoes are commonly regarded responsible for wreaking havoc. Their role in life survival of some kind would indeed not be an ordinary incident. According to researchers, such an incident did happen about 252 million year ago during the Permian period. This was the time when a chain of destructive events resulted in devastation of 90% of all terrestrial and oceanic species.
Volcanic eruptions along with drastic climate change and some unknown extraterrestrial factors are considered some of the possible reasons of this greatest ever mass extinction of the history of the Earth.
Despite their participation in bringing pervasive deaths on Earth, volcanic eruptions helped some sea creatures, including foraminifera, ostracodes, and worm tube, in surviving that apocalypse. This they did by spewing out loads of aerosols which not only protected these species from scorching sunlight but also played a significant role in cooling Earth’s surface.
Some of these aerosols settled down on Earth which would later become food for many marine animals. One aerosol contains piles of ash which is rich in carbon. If this ash is grinded, most of the tiny oceanic animals can be fed on it. The scientists came to this fine conclusion when they discovered some shells of foraminifera in Permian-aged rock sections in Vietnam; they found volcanic carbon was mixed in these shells.
It wasn’t only in a certain area where carbon-rich volcanic eruptions were occurring, in fact, they were taking place ubiquitously which was a surge of grace for marine animals. If the scientists do find evidences of volcanic carbon in elemental composition of other parts of the planet, we will have to redefine nature of cruel volcanoes.