Dinosaurs became extinct because of volcanoes not Ice Age, according to a recent investigation by MIT researchers. The scientists say, based on their explorations on magma rocks in India, that a huge volcanic eruption contributed to the elimination of dinosaurs, before an asteroid hit earth 66 million years ago.
Before this study, most scientists accepted the hypothesis that an asteroid the size of a mountain impacted Earth and among the effects of this collision was dinosaurs’ extinction. A cavity on the tip of the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico is believed to be the place where the crash took place.
Now, the new investigations support another theory, contradicting the previous one.
Published in the online edition of Science magazine, Science Express, the new report analyzed India’s Deccan Traps data. Covering an area the size of France, these mountain-high heaps of dried basalt magma streams provided the scientist with new ideas. The Deccan Traps were named after the Dutch word ‘trap’ which actually means stairs. This is because the basalt lava is distributed in steps and grows up to 3000 meters above ground level.
According to investigations, the fresh magma streams rose 66.29 million ago and this was is 250,000 years prior to the Chicxulub space rock collision with the Yucatan landmass. The report offers arguments in favor of the hypothesis that Deccan Traps led to the dinosaur elimination.
Located in Western India, the Deccan Traps are accepted as the remainders of one of the biggest volcanic outbursts on Earth. Scientists searched for volcanic material that encompasses zircon, mineral comprising uranium which contributes to structuring magma after eruptions. It is also considered to be an exact clock for deciding how old the rocks are. Scientists found that most parts of the rocks from the base to top of the volcanic layer were sprinkled with zircon.
The uranium ratio of the lead isotopes in the shakes suggested that Deccan Traps began emitting lava 250,000 years prior to the space rock hitting our planet. Also the Deccan Traps kept erupting for another 500,000 years after the collision.
The main author behind the study, Blair Schoene, a geologist at Princeton University in New Jersey declared that this is the first time when scientists managed to establish the time when Deccan Traps began. She also added that in lack of an exact timetable it is difficult to assess what happened.
The new discoveries additionally clarify why some fossils evidence vanished before the asteroid came about. Specialists supporting the extinction by Volcano theory say that it is possible that volcanic gasses made our planet a hostile environment for numerous species by altering the acid levels of water and temperatures.