August 13, 2017

"The planet’s most profound catastrophe struck 252 million years ago, at the end of the Permian period, killing 90 percent of life in the ocean and 75 percent on land."

QE: It has been called the “Great Dying.” via Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology

'The fossil record nearly goes silent and remains startlingly impoverished for millions of years: trees disappear, bacteria replace coral reefs, insects hush. What looks like fungus spikes in the fossil record, perhaps the sepulchral rot of a dying world.

'It was as close as earth has ever come to being sterilized altogether, and would take 10 million years for the planet to fully recover, setting the stage for the eventual rise of the dinosaurs.

'“The End-Permian mass extinction is unique in earth history,” said Seth Burgess, a geologist with the United States Geological Survey. “Nothing else is as severe, and it’s not even close.”

'A growing body of evidence suggests that this ancient apocalypse was brought on, in large part, by gigantic emissions of carbon dioxide from volcanoes that erupted across a vast swath of Siberia. Today the consequence of quickly injecting huge pulses of carbon dioxide into the air is discussed as if the threat exists only in the speculative output of computer models. But, as scientists have discovered, this has happened many times before, and sometimes the results were catastrophic.'

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