Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Permian Extraterrestrial Impact Caused Largest Mass Extinction On Earth

Date:
August 28, 2001
Source:
Geological Society Of America
Summary:
What actually ended the Permian Period some 251 million years ago? Most Earth scientists think gradual sea fall, climate change, oceanic anoxia, and volcanism were the causes. But that's not so. A group of geologists working in southern China found evidence that it was an asteroid or a comet that smacked our planet, exploded, and then caused the most severe biotic crisis in the history of life on Earth.

What actually ended the Permian Period some 251 million years ago? Most Earth scientists think gradual sea fall, climate change, oceanic anoxia, and volcanism were the causes. But that's not so. A group of geologists working in southern China found evidence that it was an asteroid or a comet that smacked our planet, exploded, and then caused the most severe biotic crisis in the history of life on Earth.

In the September issue of Geology, Kunio Kaiho from Tohoku University reports their findings of a remarkable sulfur and strontium isotope excursion at the end of the Permian, along with a coincident concentration of impact-metamorphosed grains and kaolinite and a significant decrease in manganese, phosphorus, calcium, and microfossils (foraminifera). Their discoveries at Meishan (Mei Mountain) suggest that an asteroid or a comet hit the ocean at the end of the Permian, triggered a rapid and massive release of sulfur from the mantle to the ocean-atmosphere system, swooped up a significant amount of oxygen, precipitated acid rain, and possibly set off large-scale volcanism.

"Understanding the cause of this event is important because it represents the largest mass extinction," Kaiho said, "and it led to the subsequent origination of recent biota on Earth."

Kaiho discovered the significance of the site when he took samples from it in 1996 and again in 1998. He plans to investigate other evidence of impact events.

"We would like to clarify paleoenvironmental changes and causes of the end Permian mass extinction in different places and of the other mass extinctions which occurred during the past 500 million years: end Ordovician, Late Devonian, and end Triassic," he said.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Geological Society Of America. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Geological Society Of America. "Permian Extraterrestrial Impact Caused Largest Mass Extinction On Earth." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 28 August 2001. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/08/010828075843.htm>.
Geological Society Of America. (2001, August 28). Permian Extraterrestrial Impact Caused Largest Mass Extinction On Earth. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/08/010828075843.htm
Geological Society Of America. "Permian Extraterrestrial Impact Caused Largest Mass Extinction On Earth." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/08/010828075843.htm (accessed September 20, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: San Diego Zoo Welcomes Cheetah Cubs

Raw: San Diego Zoo Welcomes Cheetah Cubs

AP (Sep. 20, 2014) The San Diego Zoo has welcomed two Cheetah cubs to its Safari Park. The nearly three-week-old female cubs are being hand fed and are receiving around the clock care. (Sept. 20) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Chocolate Museum Opens in Brussels

Chocolate Museum Opens in Brussels

AFP (Sep. 19, 2014) Considered a "national heritage" in Belgium, chocolate now has a new museum in Brussels. In a former chocolate factory, visitors to the permanent exhibition spaces, workshops and tastings can discover derivatives of the cocoa bean. Duration: 01:00 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) The study found elderly people are much more likely to become susceptible to infection than younger adults going though a similar situation. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Jury Delivers Verdict in Salmonella Trial

Jury Delivers Verdict in Salmonella Trial

AP (Sep. 19, 2014) A federal jury has convicted three people in connection with an outbreak of salmonella poisoning five years ago that sickened hundreds of people and was linked to a number of deaths. (Sept. 19) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins