Volcanic activity, declining ocean oxygen triggered mass extinction of ancient marine organisms

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Volcanic activity, declining ocean oxygen triggered mass extinction of ancient marine organisms‘Florida State News

Global climate change, fueled by skyrocketing levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide, is siphoning oxygen from today’s oceans at an alarming pace ‘ so fast that scientists aren’t entirely sure how the planet will respond.

Cont.

Millions of years ago, scientists discovered, powerful volcanoes pumped Earth’s atmosphere full of carbon dioxide, draining the oceans of oxygen and driving a mass extinction of marine organisms.

‘We want to understand how volcanism, which can be related to modern anthropogenic carbon dioxide release, manifests itself in ocean chemistry and extinction events,’ said study co-author Jeremy Owens, an assistant professor in FSU’s Department of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Science. ‘Could this be a precursor to what we’re seeing today with oxygen loss in our oceans? Will we experience something as catastrophic as this mass extinction event?’

  • Publisher: Florida State University News
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Volcanic activity, declining ocean oxygen triggered mass extinction of ancient organisms

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For this study, an international team of scientists set out to better understand today’s oxygen-deprived oceans by investigating the Toarcian Oceanic Anoxic Event (T-OAE), an interval of global oceanic deoxygenation characterized by a mass extinction of marine organisms that occurred in the Early Jurassic Period.

“We wanted to reconstruct Early Jurassic ocean oxygen levels to better understand the mass extinction and the T-OAE,” said Theodore Them, a postdoctoral researcher at FSU who led the study. “We used to think of ocean temperature and acidification as a one-two punch, but more recently we’ve learned this third variable, oxygen change, is equally important.”

  • Publisher: ScienceDaily
  • Citation: Web link

Ancient volcanism shows our emissions can trigger a mass marine extinction

Right now, global climate patterns are swinging wildly (in geological terms), powered by all the greenhouse gases we’re pumping in the atmosphere. We have some broad idea of what these changes will entail, but we don’t know the details — and not knowing what to expect in such circumstances is quite scary.’One thing we do know for sure right now is that the high concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere are draining oceans of oxygen. It’s happening faster than anything similar we’ve ever seen and has researchers worried and scrambling to find solutions.

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  • Publisher: ZME Science
  • Date: 2018-06-12T13:00:54+03:00
  • Author: Author link
  • Twitter: @zmescience
  • Citation: Web link

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