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What really killed the dinosaurs? New studies suggest volcanoes may have played a role

(Credit: iStock)

The mass extinction event that killed of the dinosaurs is often thought to be caused by a huge asteroid that struck the Earth 66 million years ago. However, a few new studies believe that there is a huge volcanic eruption may also have played a role in the demise of the dino.

Both studies, published in Science, looking at the connection between the impact on the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico, which may have led to volcanic eruptions in India. In a paper, they were able to determine precise dates for the eruptions, pointing to the “million-year series of eruptions” sent lava hundreds of kilometres across India, the creation of the Deccan Traps flood basalt.

“Now that we have dated Deccan Traps lava flows in the lake and at different locations, we see that the transition seems to be the same everywhere,” UC Berkely Professor-in-residence Paul to run from, in a statement. “I would say with fairly large certainty can be determined, that the eruptions occurred within 50,000 years, and maybe even 30,000 years, of the impact, which means they were synchronous within the margin of error.”

ASTEROID THAT KILLED THE DINOSAURS CAUSED METER-HIGH TSUNAMI AROUND THE EARTH

“That is a significant confirmation of the hypothesis that the impact of renewed lava flows,” to run from added.

The dinosaur footprint/apatosaurus, a type of sauropod (© The Hunterian, University of Glasgow/iStock/Warpaintcobra)

Perhaps even more surprising is that three-quarters of the lava flow broke out after the impact, while previous studies said about 80 percent of the lava was for the impact.

The researchers were able to use the argon-argon dating method to measure the rocks to determine when the rocks out, building from previous research. Using the new method, they were able to pinpoint a date of 66,052,000 years ago, “give or take 8,000 years.”

Layers of lava flows within the Wai Subgroup of the near Ambenali Ghat, Western Ghats. (Credit: Courtney Sprain)

Assuming that the majority of the lava came after the collision, the gases that the atmosphere is likely to drop out for a long period of time, similar to what is seen with Mt. Etna in Italy, and Popocatepetl in Mexico.

“We suggest that it is very likely that many of the gases come from magma systems prior to eruptions, and not necessarily in bursts,” said to run from. In the case of the K-Pg extinction, the symptoms of significant climate change occurred before the peak in volcanic eruptions.

THE DINOSAURS DIED A COLD, DARK DEATH, A NEW STUDY SHOWS

Courtney Sprain, the lead author of one of the studies, said that the findings change the role of the Deccan Traps at the K-Pg extinction, also known as the extinction that occurred at the end of the Cretaceous Period.

“One of the Deccan eruptions do not play a role — which we think is unlikely — or a piece of the climate-changing gases were erupted during the lowest volume pulse of eruptions,” Sprain said in the same statement.

A study published in January said the impact of the meteorite caused a worldwide tsunami that is more than 5,000 feet in the air.

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