Tag Archives: ancient rocks

Ancient rocks show life could have flourished on Earth 3.2 billion years ago

A spark from a lightning bolt, interstellar dust, or a subsea volcano could have triggered the very first life on Earth.

But what happened next? Life can exist without oxygen, but without plentiful nitrogen to build genes – essential to viruses, bacteria and all other organisms – life on the early Earth would have been scarce. (more…)

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Before Dinosaurs’ Era, Volcanic Eruptions Triggered Mass Extinction

Increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide, global warming, ocean acidification killed 76 percent of species on Earth

More than 200 million years ago, a massive extinction decimated 76 percent of marine and terrestrial species, marking the end of the Triassic period and the onset of the Jurassic.

The event cleared the way for dinosaurs to dominate Earth for the next 135 million years, taking over ecological niches formerly occupied by other marine and terrestrial species.

It’s not clear what caused the end-Triassic extinction, although most scientists agree on a likely scenario. (more…)

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As Next Supercontinent Forms, Arctic Ocean, Caribbean will Vanish First

Geologists at Yale University have proposed a new theory to describe the formation of supercontinents, the epic process by which Earth’s major continental blocks combine into a single vast landmass. The new model radically challenges the dominant theories of how supercontinents might take shape.

In a paper published Feb. 9 in the journal Nature, Yale researchers introduce a process called orthoversion, in which each succeeding supercontinent forms 90 degrees from the geographic center of its ancient predecessor. Under the theory, the present-day Arctic Ocean and Caribbean Sea will vanish as North and South America fuse during a mutual northward migration that leads to a collision with Europe and Asia. (more…)

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