Gigantic eruptions from amazing “supervolcanoes” at the top of the world caused the largest mass extinction on Earth, scientists have declared.
Supervolcanoes can be found around the planet and three exist in the United States, the most famous of them the Yellowstone Caldera.
Supervolcanoes cause mass extinctions
With the supervolcano at Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming showing signs of becoming more active, interest in the world’s supervolcanoes is heating up.
Yellowstone’s supervolcano is showing ominous signs of becoming fully active again—since 2004 its dome has been rising steadily at the record rate of three inches a year.
A fully active supervolcano is not a good thing .Supervolcanoes are nasty. They can cause massive weather changes, reshape continents, cause mass extinctions and have almost wiped out the human race several times.
Geological evidence reveals that the last time the Yellowstone supervolcano erupted it destroyed about 0ne-third of North America. That was about 600,000 years ago.
Now some vulcanologists—experts that study volcanoes—are claiming that Yellowstone is due to erupt again.
A smaller supervolcano, located on the Canary Isands off the northwest coast of Africa may also erupt in the near future. Some geologists theorize that an eruption there could cause an Atlantic tsunami up to one-half mile high that would travel westward faster than the speed of sound and destroy most of the Eastern coastal regions of the United States.
Other than the Yellowstone and the Canary island supervolcanoes, other prehistoric super-eruptions include those that exploded from the giants that still smolder in New Zealand and Indonesia.
The Lake Toba eruption that occurred about 74,000 years ago in Indonesia is known to have thrust the entire Earth into a long volcanic winter, set off a grueling Ice Age, killed many animals and wiped out about 60 percent of the human race.
The Great Dying
While most scientists today believe that a life-killing asteroid ended the reign of the mighty dinosaurs some 65 million years ago, the reason for the Great Dying mass extinction of the Permian 250 million years in the past eluded researchers.
The last Permian extinction was marked by 95 per cent of ocean life destroyed and about 70 per cent of the land animals wiped out virtually overnight.
University of Calgary scientists studying coal ash in rocks layered in the extinction boundary located in the Canadian High Arctic, have found proof that a super-eruption caused the mass extinction.
Dr. Steve Grasby, a member of the scientific team that made the discovery, told the UK Daily Mail that “This could literally be the smoking gun that explains the latest Permian extinction. Our research is the first to show direct evidence that massive volcanic eruptions—the largest the world has ever witnessed—caused massive coal combustion thus supporting models for significant generation of greenhouse gases at this time.”
250 million years ago, Earth had only one super-continent called “Pangaea.” The land mass has various climates ranging from dense jungles to arid deserts.
When the supervolcano erupted it spewed huge layers of ash high into the stratosphere and blocked off the sun for decades-maybe even hundreds of years. Ocean plant life died and the larger animals that fed off it. On land the story was much the same.
The ash is present in the High Arctic and was found in a region near Buchanan Lake, Canada.
Supervolcanoes at the top of the world
A series of supervolcanoes stretching across what is now northern Siberia, erupted and spread the ash all over the world. Called “Siberian Traps,” the gigantic calderas are near the Russian city of Tura and spread across the countryside covering an area greater than Europe.
The ash plumes from those erupting volcanoes traveled to regions now in Canada’s High Arctic where the team found the coal ash layers.
Grasby—together with team members Benoit Beauchamp and Hamed Sanei—studied the formations.
The layers showed evidence of abundant organic matter.
The team suggest that the massive eruptions added to life’s existing troubles. At that time in Earth’s history the oceans were warming and the oxygen levels in the atmosphere were dropping.
“It was a really bad time on Earth,” Dr Grasby told the Daily Mail.
Now, as the Earth’s magnetic pole shift is underway, research has shown that it’s often accompanied by a massive increase in earthquake and volcanic activity.
Some scientist’s eyes are shifting towards the supervolcanoes of Yellowstone and the Canaries…giants whose slumbering may have ended after many eons…