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Volcanoes may have helped life after the asteroid hit - study

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Scientists already knew that the extraterrestrial impactor blew a crater roughly 120 miles wide into Earth’s crust. Skies blackened as massive tsunamis tore across the oceans, and wildfires raged for hundreds of miles around and overall more than three-quarters of life on Earth. Around the same time the asteroid struck, a large volcanic complex in what’s now Southern India was erupting, releasing more than 200,000 cubic miles of lava and pumping climate-altering gases into the sky.

To put the two the disasters to the test, Chiarenza and his colleague Alexander Farnsworth, a climatologist at the University of Bristol, built computer models of Earth’s climate as it was 66 million years ago. All of the models showed the Deccan Traps could not have caused dinosaur die-outs. 

These simulations reveal that the asteroid alone rendered the planet uninhabitable for all dinosaurs other than birds. Perhaps counterintuitively, the volcanoes of the Deccan Traps may have actually made Earth more hospitable, not less.

“This is, I would think, a nail in the coffin [for the hypothesis that] the Deccan Traps drove the mass extinction,” says paleontologist Anjali Goswami, a research leader at the Natural History Museum.

Source: https://www.nationalgeographic.com/science/2020/06/volcanoes-helped-life-bounce-back-afterdinosaur-killing-asteroid/

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