Tag Archives: volcanic activity

One of The Supercontinents is Different from the Others (It’s Rodinia)

Many people have heard of Pangaea, the supercontinent that included all continents on Earth and began to break up about 175 million years ago. But before Pangaea, Earth’s landmasses ripped apart and smashed back together to form supercontinents repeatedly. This cycle has been going on for at least the last 3.0 billion years of Earth’s history, regulating our planet’s geography, climate, and carbon cycles. (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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First Geologic Map of Jupiter’s Moon Io Details an Otherworldly Volcanic Surface

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – More than 400 years after its discovery by Galileo, the innermost large moon of Jupiter – Io – can finally rest on its geologic laurels. A group of scientists led by Dr. David A. Williams of Arizona State University has produced the first global geologic map of the Jovian satellite. The map, which was published by the U. S. Geological Survey, technically illustrates the geologic character of some of the most unique and active volcanoes ever documented in the solar system.

Since its discovery in January 1610, Io has been the focus of repeated observation, first by Earth-based telescopes, and later by fly-by and orbiting spacecraft. These studies depict an otherworldly celestial body whose gravitational relationships with Jupiter and sister moons Europa and Ganymede cause massive, rapid flexing of its surface and interior. This flexing generates tremendous heat in Io’s interior, which is relieved through surface volcanism, resulting in 25 times more volcanic activity than occurs here on Earth. (more…)

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