An examination by scientists from MIT on rocks from west central India suggests that volcanoes may have caused dinosaur extinction. The scientists believe the volcanic eruption may have helped in the extinction of dinosaurs. The team of scientists thinks a volcanic eruption happened before the impact of the asteroid, 66 million years ago.
It is believed that an asteroid the size of a mountain struck the Earth which was the cause of the dinosaur extinction. On the tip of the Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico there is a crater that signifies the spot in which the collision took place. However, the recent study disapproves the long accepted theory.
The study published in the Science Express, an online edition of the journal Science, analyzed the dates for India’s Deccan Traps. These high piles of dried lava cover an area the size of France. The youngest flaws of lava surfaced 66.29 million years in the past, which makes it 250,000 years earlier than the Chicxulub rock which impacted the peninsula in Yucatan. The study supports the theory that Deccan Traps were the cause of the dinosaur extinction.
The Deccan Traps discovered in Western India are considered to be the remains of one of the biggest volcanic eruptions on the globe. The scientists searched for rocks containing zircon, which is a mineral that contains uranium. This kind of component forms in magma quickly after eruption. It also acts as a clock for figuring out the age of volcanic rocks. The team of scientists found that most of the samples gathered from the top and bottom of the volcanic layer included zircon.
The ratio of uranium to lead isotopes within the rocks showed the team that the Deccan Traps started erupting 250,000 years earlier than when the strike of the asteroid took place. Also, the eruptions were so long that they proceeded to move for another 500,000 years after the impact.
The new study also shows why particular fossils disappeared before the collision of the asteroid. The name of the Deccan Traps comes from the word for stairs in Dutch, which is ‘trap’. The stair-like lava flows pile up almost 3000 meters above the ground level. Specialists who accept the model of the volcanic extinction think that the volcanic gases made the planet uninhabitable for numerous species.