Cretaceous asteroid rethink

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brian livesey
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Joined: Mon Jan 09, 2006 11:05 am
Location: Lancashire

Cretaceous asteroid rethink

Post by brian livesey »

The demise of the dinosaurs is a continuing saga. Researchers in America are challenging the theory that there were two crises that rendered the dinosaurs extinct 66 million years ago.
The current position is that the extinction was caused by an asteroid strike that coincided with vast basalt flows that were releasing poisonous gases into the atmosphere. Now, US researchers are saying that the theory is no longer valid.
The basalt eruptions they say occured well before the Cretaceous-Paleogene extinction. Pincelli Hull, of Yale University, said: "Volcanoes can drive mass extinctions because they release lots of gases, such as sulphur dioxide, that can alter the climate and acidify the world, but recent work has focused on the timing of eruptions rather than gas release."
Micheal Henehan, a research team member at Yale, added: "Volcanic activity in the late Cretaceous caused a global warming event of 2 degrees, but not mass extinction. A number of species moved toward the North and South poles, but moved back well before the asteroid impact."
The new data is published in the journal "Science".

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