Underwater volcanoes may have killed off the dinosaurs
A Worldwide pulse of magma erupting through the sea bed helped to kill off the dinosaurs 66 million years ago, research has suggested.
A fresh examination of sea-floor crust data reveals that the seismic waves triggered by the infamous Chicxulub meteorite led to a global surge of marine volcanic activity, which played a far greater role in the late Cretaceous extinctions than previously thought.
Up to now, the mass extinctions have been mainly blamed on the meteorite and its aftermath, as well as on intense volcanic activity in an area of modern day India, the Deccan Traps. But the new study indicates the shock waves gave rise to activity across the planet that caused catastrophic disturbances to the Earth's atmosphere.
"Our work suggests a connection between these exceedingly rare and catastrophic events, distributed over the entire planet," said Prof Leif Karlstrom, of the University of Oregon, who led the research. "The impact may have influenced volcanic eruptions already going on, making for a one-two punch."
Researchers divided the sea floor geological data into one-million-year-old groupings, constructing a record back to 100 million years ago. At about 66 million years, they found evidence for a "short-lived pulse of marine magmatism" along ancient ocean ridges. (© Daily Telegraph, London)