The extinctions of the Mesozoic era accused volcanoes

Scientists have discovered a high concentration of carbon dioxide of magmatic origin in the samples of basalt from the Central Atlantic magmatic province. This confirmed the hypothesis that it is the eruptions has led to catastrophic climate change — global warming and acidification of the oceans — in which there was a mass extinction of living organisms in the Mesozoic. Article published in the journal Nature Communications.

Warming before the beginning of the Jurassic period, doomed to destruction many species in water and on land, and called it the rising concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere that was able to determine through the analysis of fossil carbonate rocks. The accumulation of carbon dioxide has led to increased temperatures and acidification of ocean waters through a succession of acid rain. However, the exact cause of increase still have not been established.

The Central Atlantic magmatic province (CAMP) is the largest area of igneous rocks in the world: it is composed of basalt and was formed in the late Triassic before the separation of Pangaea. A major eruption in this province coincided with mass extinctions of species in the Mesozoic, and the emission of carbon dioxide by volcanoes, as expected, and could be the cause of abrupt climate change transforms the habitat of living organisms.

To test the hypothesis about the causal relationships of these events, scientists headed Kapriolo Manfredo (Manfredo Capriolo) from the University of Padua studied samples of igneous rocks to CAMP on the presence of carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, methane, and elemental carbon inside the bubbles.

For the study, researchers collected more than 200 samples of magmatic rocks of solidified lava flows on the territory of Portugal, Morocco, USA and Canada. They expected to detect extremely low concentrations of carbon dioxide, which is difficult to measure quantitatively, so the analysis of its content in the vesicles was carried out by Raman spectroscopy. It is a noninvasive method that allows to obtain well distinguishable spectra and uniquely identify the molecule.

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