About 250 million years ago an event known as the Permian-Triassic catastrophe took place on Earth, and eradicated roughly 70 percent of life on land and 96 percent of sea life.
Of the five mass extinction periods that Earth has endured, this was the worst. According to new Permian-Triassic catastrophe was drastic rising levels of carbon dioxide and methane which ushered in unstoppable global warming.
Scientists and researchers from Brock University in Ontario have been studying ancient rocks and the gasses trapped within them, and their conclusion is that it wasn't mass volcanic eruption or meteor showers that caused this event, as previously believed, but global climate change.
They did admit that, per their research, common volcanic eruptions did lead to large amounts of carbon dioxide being released into the air, which could potentially have raised global temperatures to 52°F (11°C).
That rising temperature would have led to the permafrost melting, which is where vast amounts of methane had been locked in. The melting of the permafrost led to the release of the methane, which in turn would have sparked extreme global warming.
In a publishing research paper, the leader of the team, Dr Uwe Brand, stated, "Based on measurements of gases trapped in calcite, the release of methane…is deemed the ultimate source and cause for the dramatic life-changing global warming…observed at the end Permian."
He continued, "Global warming triggered by the massive release of carbon dioxide may be catastrophic, but the release of methane from hydrate [permafrost] may be apocalyptic. The end Permian holds an important lesson for humanity regarding the issue it faces today with greenhouse gas emissions, global warming, and climate change."
The researchers also noted that out-of-control global warming could have possibly pushed average temperatures up to 84°F (29°C).
Finally, the research paper added, "The emission of carbon dioxide from volcanic deposits may have started the world onto the road of mass extinction, but it was the release of methane from shelf sediments and permafrost hydrates that was the ultimate cause for the catastrophic biotic event at the end Permian."
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[H/T: Daily Mail]