The Earth’s most massive extinction event, the so-called “Great Dying,” happened roughly 250 million years ago when a volcanic eruption threw a nickel byproduct into the atmosphere. While we know what caused this “Great Dying” cataclysmic event, there are still many mysteries surrounding it. A recent study revealed something new. According to a team of scientists, the Earth’s most massive extinction event killed the plants first, then the animals.
The powerful volcanic eruption which triggered the “Great Dying” spew carbon and methane, as well as a nickel byproduct, into the Earth’s atmosphere for more than 2 million years. The oceans boiled, killing 96 percent of marine life, while more than 70 percent of the land-based creatures died.
However, according to the scientists from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, the nickel byproduct, that emerged in the air due to the before-mentioned volcanic eruption, traveled above Australia, rained down, and killed the majority of the Australian plants with 400,000 years before the “Great Dying” event caused the death of marine life.
“Great Dying,” The Earth’s Most Massive Extinction Event, Killed The Plants First
“That’s big news. People have hinted at that, but nobody’s previously pinned it down. Now we have a timeline,” said Christopher Fielding from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and the new study’s leading author. “So it was a combination of circumstances. And that’s a recurring theme through all five of the major mass extinctions in Earth’s history,” Fielding added, referring to the process that turned the nickel from inside the Earth into an aerosol that flew with the air currents.
Accordingly, after a massive volcano erupted in the modern-day Siberia region, the nickel deposits from the Earth, which were placed right under the respective volcano, turned into aerosols (the before-mentioned nickel byproducts) that reached, via the air currents above different areas of the world.
That nickel byproduct poisoned the majority of plants in the regions where it went, with 400,000 years before the “Great Dying” event triggered the death of 96 percent of the marine life and 70 percent of the land-based animals.
Vadim is a passionate writer on various topics but especially on stuff related to health, technology, and science. Therefore, for Great Lakes Ledger, Vadim will cover health and Sci&Tech news.