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Volcanoes killed the Dinosaurs, new evidence suggests

 
 
Reply Wed 17 Dec, 2008 09:26 am
Volcanoes Killed The Dinosaurs, New Evidence Suggests
Huffington Post by Nicholas Graham
December 16, 2008

Accepted theory holds that the dinosaurs became extinct after a large asteroid crashed into Earth, rending the environment uninhabitable. However, that theory is facing a serious challenge as evidence mounts that it may have been massive volcanic eruptions in India that ended the species:

Huge volcanic eruptions that belched sulfur into the air for around 10,000 years could have killed the dinosaurs, according to new evidence unearthed by geologists.

Evidence is accumulating that it wasn't an asteroid that did the beasts in, but volcanoes -- the first real challenge the extinction theory has met in three decades.

A combination of studies on dinosaur fossils, magnetic signatures in rocks and the timing of the disappearance of different species suggest it was volcanoes, not an asteroid, that caused the dinosaurs' extinction.

"We're discovering ... amazingly large flows, amazingly short time scales and amazing volcanic (eruptions)," said Vincent Courtillot of the University of Paris, who is is presenting new evidence for the volcano theory this week at the American Geophysical Union conference here.

In related news, scientists have discovered new dinosaurs in the Sahara desert, in what they deem to be an astonishing prehistoric "river of the giants":

A prehistoric 'river of the giants' that was once home to gigantic fish, towering dinosaurs and 60 foot long crocodiles has been unearthed by British fossil hunters.

The river - as wide as the Danube - flowed across the Sahara desert 100 million years ago, surrounded by lush forests, waterways and lakes.

The site has yielded some of the most exciting African prehistoric finds in years - including the tip of a giant flying reptile's beak and a limb bone from a 65 foot long plant-eating dinosaur. Both are thought to be new species.

Other finds include the remains of a crocodile the length of two double deckers, two inch long scales shed by an freshwater predatory fish, and teeth from a massive sawfish.

Rare dinosaur footprints were also found at the site, near the Algerian border in south-east Morocco.

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Type: Discussion • Score: 6 • Views: 5,328 • Replies: 15
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djjd62
 
  1  
Reply Wed 17 Dec, 2008 09:29 am
http://i250.photobucket.com/albums/gg275/AnneTeldy/dinosaurs.jpg
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gungasnake
 
  0  
Reply Wed 17 Dec, 2008 09:46 am
The big dinosaurs died out from catastrophic causes. The smaller ones died out when mammals learned to throw straight (overhand) punches and hooks in combination:

http://video.google.com/videosearch?q=duran%20fernandez&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a&um=1&sa=N&tab=wv#
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farmerman
 
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Reply Wed 17 Dec, 2008 02:57 pm
@BumbleBeeBoogie,
I hate when these "pop" reports of what killed the dinosaurs appear. SCience is actually hurt when these 24 hour news cycle reports appear with speculations and the hint of data.

Theres a paleontologist over at U of Penn that has been doing diligent work collecting evidence on what really killed them. She has published this hypothesis and has shown that chixclub layers are actually not the end of the dinosaur fossils. Dinosaurs were dead well before chixclub and the appearance of anhydrite deposits throughout the K evidence that SO3 was pumping around the atmosphere at the same time. However, there doesnt seem to be evidence that shows a lower pH in the climatological spectra. Vol.canoes may be part of it but other , more arcane answers lie in the aspects of drifting continents at the mid to late K and its effects on landforms, water budgets, and other less spectacular evidence
edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Wed 17 Dec, 2008 03:30 pm
According to Brette Hiawatha, many of them died from breast cancer.
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High Seas
 
  0  
Reply Wed 17 Dec, 2008 03:37 pm
@farmerman,
Farmerman - the death of the critters is known (to everyone but the Huffington Post, not exactly a Nobel-prize level scientific publication) to have multible causes and to have lasted for millenia.

All the other posters here (except for our hostess) seem to be aware of that fact.
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Wed 17 Dec, 2008 04:29 pm
Dj is the one who obviously has the low down skinny on what killed them big lizards.
farmerman
 
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Reply Wed 17 Dec, 2008 04:52 pm
@High Seas,
I Disagree HS, the Geological SOciety of AMerica is split on this. Both sides have evidence and the position that dicos were extinct before chixclub is based upon a maybe imperfect stratigraphic continuity.

The facts are that the end of the K happened very abruptly (the KT boundary is, to me , a more important markr than the extinction of dinosaurs). This end of the K may have been a few thousand years or a few months. It is another fact that reduced solar radiation accompanied this event and a mass extinction was occuirng. This mass extinction was second to all others and accounted for 90% extinction of planktonic forms, half of all the other macro-invertebrates and 75% of angiosperms. Species diversity didnt restore itself for about another 10 million years.

The reduced solar radiation destroyed most of the existing photosynthetic plants at the bottom of the food chain. The first plants to spread out at the base of the tertiary were ferns , this always has indicated a fire boundary had occured (The fire s occured in vast areas where vulcanism was NOT evidenced, nor were ther evidences of pyroclastics or ashfalls).

The meteoritic impactor has lots of data to support it as THE major force. We include the multicontinental spread of stishovite (shocked quartz), iridium and a minor worldwide boundary layer, beneath which all dinosaurs lie, is pretty good evidence. That, and the fact that there is a paucity of C13 after the bolide hit (indicating planetary wide fires)
The argument for the vulcanism is based upon an idea thatmy own team published in 1988 in which we were doing a survey of SO4 caprocks and we did a quick mass balance of all anhydrite deposits and came to an approximation that Sulphate in K sediments,(derived from Sulfur and Sulfoxides) had accumulated quickly during the late K so, we speculated that vulcanism was quite active and could be a factor in the terminal mass extinction. We never had any really hard data like the present authors (who are published in reputable juried journals) and besides , we were being paid to work on other things. So the accumulation of anhydrites, a bolide impactor, several areas of vulcanism, and changing climates due to drifting continents were all suspected. NO one of them are compelling individually but one of them has to be a keystone . My own feeling is that the keystone event is probably the chixclub bolide. It finished off the dinosaurs that were already in severe decline due to other events, which were more routine in our planets history. I often change my mind as new data arise , but the event is undoubtedly one of the baddest days in our geologic past and cannot be dismissed as "pop" speculation.

High Seas
 
  1  
Reply Wed 17 Dec, 2008 04:52 pm
@Setanta,
I'd say Edgar is a runner-up. This article isn't connected, but I loved their way of giving the awards:

Quote:
The swimming naked awards
Dec 16th 2008
From Economist.com


A year of embarrassment when the financial tide went out

“YOU only find out who is swimming naked when the tide goes out”, Warren Buffett famously observed. In 2008, the financial tide went out further than anyone expected, revealing a multitude of skinny-dippers. To help them cover up their embarrassment, Business.view is proud to announce the following winners of the 2008 “naked shorts” awards:

Scoundrel of the year: Too many contenders to mention, but the last minute entrant has won by a landslide: Bernie Madoff, who is providing a helpful demonstration of the difference between a financial collapse due to management incompetence (most of this year’s banking failures) and a genuine 100% fraud.
AP
AP

Bernie Madoff, scoundrel of the year

Outstanding Public Relations: No question, the decision of the bosses of Detroit’s shrinking Big Three car makers to fly in separate corporate jets to appeal to Congress for a bail-out. What better way to tell the public that the leaders of corporate America are out of touch? Runner up: John Thain, boss of Merrill Lynch, who looked like a hero for saving his firm, only to blow it by demanding his bonus.

Greatest sovereign risk: In a year of meltdown, Iceland is a fitting winner.

Rumble in the jungle: Dick “the Gorilla” Fuld versus Lehman “Nameless” Employee. The boss who presided over Lehman’s demise was allegedly knocked out with a single punch in the investment bank’s gym, by an angry employee.

Gift horse: Mr Fuld wins again, for reportedly turning down multiple offers of life-saving investment in Lehman. Honourable mentions to the bosses of Deutsche Bank, Barclays and Ford, who all publicly said they did not need an injection of state funds, but may live to regret it.

The Andrew Mellon award for incompetence as Treasury Secretary: Hank Paulson, whose lack of strategy and catastrophic decision to let Lehman Brothers fail made a bad situation far worse.

Best letter: Runner up, for its undisguised Schadenfreude, was Congressman Henry Waxman’s letter to the heads of Wall Street firms after the government bought some of their shares, demanding to know the salaries of their top earners, their bonuses and how these were calculated. But the lifetime achievement award goes to the letter A, as in “triple-A rating”, which is now entering long-overdue retirement.

Most convincing Jekyll-and-Hyde impersonation: Scary sovereign-wealth funds were going to buy up the world. Then they were heroically going to rescue the banking system. Now they are in hiding, counting their massive losses and wondering where all their money went. In second place, and closely related, oil: expensive one moment, cheap the next.

Most dismal scientist: Nouriel Roubini and George Soros battled it out for the role of scarily-accented Dr Doom in the next James Bond movie, “A Quantum of Funds”, but nobody put the dismal science into economics more effectively than the Republican vice-presidential candidate, Sarah Palin, during her unforgettable interview with Katie Couric. As she explained: “That’s why I say I, like every American I’m speaking with, we’re ill about this position that we have been put in. Where it is the taxpayers looking to bail out. But ultimately, what the bailout does is help those who are concerned about the health care reform that is needed to help shore up our economy. Um, helping, oh, it’s got to be about job creation, too. Shoring up our economy, and putting it back on the right track. So health care reform and reducing taxes and reining in spending has got to accompany tax reductions, and tax relief for Americans, and trade " we have got to see trade as opportunity, not as, uh, competitive, um, scary thing, but one in five jobs created in the trade sector today. We’ve got to look at that as more opportunity. All of those things under the umbrella of job creation.” Indeed. Perhaps best enjoyed in the Tina Fey version from Saturday Night Live.

Client of the Year: Client Number Nine, aka Eliot Spitzer. Wall Street had little to cheer about in 2008, but the fall of its former persecutor in a sex scandal was one of them. Happily for former New York Governor Spitzer, America’s tradition of giving failures a second chance is alive and well. Starting soon, he will write a regular column in Slate, an online magazine.

Best supporting abbreviation: Last year, it was SIV (structured-investment vehicle). This year, the winner is TARP, which stands for troubled asset relief programme"better known as a blank cheque for Mr Paulson. Runner up: IOU.

Most oligarchic oligarch: Two strong entries: Mikhail Frydman, Len Blavatnik and Viktor Vekselberg (collectively), for driving out Robert Dudley, the boss of the joint-venture between TNK and BP; and the winner, Oleg Deripaska, for embarrassing first Britain’s government and main opposition by inviting two leading members onto his yacht, and then himself by falling foul of the credit crunch.

Party of the year: The $86,000 partridge-hunting trip funded by AIG, a government-rescued insurance firm, for some top clients. They had fun, but the public outcry was such that lots of other firms cancelled their holiday parties lest they be accused of wasting money in tough times. Cheers!

Badly-timed nickname: Awarded jointly to Whole Foods Market and Starbucks. Being known, respectively, as Whole Paycheck and Fourbucks is fine when the going is good, but not when consumers are obsessed with value for money. Both of these pricey retailers have had a miserable year. Whole Foods’ shares are down by 75% so far in 2008, and shares in Starbucks are down by over half.

In memoriam: A posthumous award for this year’s notable departures. Contenders include Alan Greenspan’s reputation as a great central banker; investment banks; the newspaper industry; sport-utility vehicles; fiscal prudence; the inexorable rise of BRIC economies and the theory that BRICs had “decoupled” from rich world economies; pay increases; and capitalism. But the winner is economic growth"gone, though one hopes not forever.

Flash Gordon award for saving the universe: Gordon Brown, Britain’s prime minister, would have won, but the self-proclaimed mastermind of the great global banking bail-out claims only to have been saving the world. The winner is Warren Buffett, whose timely investments seem to have rescued both General Electric and Goldman Sachs, home of the financial Masters of the Universe.

Comeback kid: Not everyone had a bad year. Some of the business winners in 2008 include the value-shopper’s favourite, Wal-Mart, whose chief executive Lee Scott is leaving on a high; Ken Lewis, boss of Bank of America, which now has enough of the country’s money to deserve its name; Paul Volcker, who has replaced Alan Greenspan as everyone’s favourite ex-central banker; bankruptcy lawyers and corporate restructuring experts; sucking up to your boss to keep your job; and nationalisation. But the winner is cash, which once again is king. Hot favourite for next year’s comeback kid award? The Great Depression.
High Seas
 
  1  
Reply Wed 17 Dec, 2008 04:55 pm
@farmerman,
Sorry, was only addressing the KT boundary from a mathematical modeling standpoint ie catastrophe theory (very fat tail, aka "risk of ruin" in the trade, relatively high speed of collapse), not any detailed geological issue - I don't know geology.
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High Seas
 
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Reply Wed 17 Dec, 2008 05:06 pm
@High Seas,
forgot the link
http://www.economist.com/business/displayStory.cfm?story_id=12796770
High Seas
 
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Reply Fri 26 Dec, 2008 02:20 pm
@High Seas,
Amazing - thanks to FM I now know why Norilsk has so much nickel:
Quote:
The Siberian flood-volcanic event is the most voluminous and explosive, continental, volcanic event known in the Phanerozoic record. U"Pb perovskite and zircon ages were obtained for lavas of the lowermost unit (251.7±0.4 Ma) and near-uppermost unit (251.1±0.3 Ma), respectively, of the volcanic sequence in the Maymecha"Kotuy area, Russia. Along with stratigraphic correlations and paleomagnetic evidence, these ages suggest that rapid extrusion of the entire not, vert, similar6500 m thick composite sequence occurred in less than 1 million years. The time of extrusion coincides precisely with an age of 251.4±0.3 Ma previously obtained for the Permian"Triassic mass-extinction event, the most devastating biotic crisis known. Emplacement of the Noril’sk"Talnakh ore-bearing intrusions, notable for their prodigious Cu"Ni"PGE deposits, was synchronous with these two major geologic events at 251.2±0.3 Ma.


Went there years ago to look at their mines, btw; they still operate one designed by Herbert Hoover before he became president.
farmerman
 
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Reply Fri 26 Dec, 2008 04:35 pm
@High Seas,
The big Permian extinction is undoubtedly a vulcanism event as stated in your clip. One other thing that is symptomatic was the occurence of oxygen deprived sedimenst like pyrite and other sulfides that coincided with the terminator event. Oxygen had been depleted from a very high Carboniferous level of over 30% to a low of about 12 %. Oxygen was rapidly depleted in a few hundred thousand years and evolution barely had enough time to keep up. That gave later rise to the dinosaurs from the protosaurs of the late Permian
roger
 
  1  
Reply Fri 26 Dec, 2008 06:46 pm
@farmerman,
Global warming, the coming ice age, polution, energy crisis, giant astroids. And now, a new addition to my worry list: running out of oxygen. Crap.

farmerman
 
  1  
Reply Fri 26 Dec, 2008 09:30 pm
@roger,
you can evolve your gene pool out of this roger. Just get working on having about 200 children so that the genetic variation of several of them would allow tolerance for lower oxygen levels.
Your out of luck Im afraid but your gene line is immortal.
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BumbleBeeBoogie
 
  1  
Reply Sat 27 Dec, 2008 10:06 am
@farmerman,
Farmerman, I'm so glad that you post such informative information on A2K. I learn so much from you because you present it in a way I can understand, not being a scholar.

http://geology.geoscienceworld.org/cgi/content/abstract/24/11/963
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