Ancient Mass Extinction, The So-Called Great Dying, Caused By Hot Ocean Water

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About 250 million years ago, more than 90% of sea life and 70% of land life died in what the scientists call the Great Dying event. While the researchers have come up with several theories regarding what has caused this cataclysmic event, in a new study, a team of scientists believes they found out what has triggered this ancient mass extinction – hot ocean water.

Published yesterday in the journal Science, the new study’s report reveals that the scientists reached that conclusion by using sophisticated computer simulations to estimate what happened after the volcanoes around the world violently erupted 250 million years ago. According to the researchers, the volcanic explosions rose the water temperatures in seas and oceans by approximately 11 degrees Celsius which, eventually, led to the evaporation of the oxygen in the seawater. That triggered the death of 90% of sea life.

After that, the heat-trapping carbon dioxide increased to levels by 12 times higher than what it is today. However, the scientists think that studying the so-called Great Dying event is of great importance for the fight against climate change.

Hot Ocean Water Caused The Ancient Mass Extinction Known As The Great Dying

As the new study revealed, the sea creatures away from the equator have been affected the most as those species living at the tropics are used with low-oxygen levels. Also, according to the researchers, even though we’re not heating the Earth to the degrees reached by our planet about 250 million years ago, “this puts our future into the category of contenders for true catastrophe,” as Curtis Deutsch from the University of Washington said.

The so-called Great Dying event “shows almost exactly what lies at the end of the road we’re on. We’re really doing the same thing to Earth’s climate and oceans,” Deutsch added.

“Because we are warming up the Earth at a rapid rate, results from this study could prove to very useful in understanding” what hot ocean water, which caused the ancient mass extinction of about 250 million years ago, might affect the sea life.

Vadim Ioan Caraiman

With over seven years of experience in online journalism, Vadim is passionate about everything related to science and the environment. For us, he will thus cover climate, environment, and science news, among others.


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