Huge underwater volcanoes killed off sea-life prior to dinosaur extinction, new research finds

This is what I’ve been saying all along!

“Popular opinion holds that an asteroid struck the Earth 65million years ago, hustling out the Age of Dinosaurs and allowing the mammals – us – to rise,” says this article in the Daily Mail.

However, new research from the University of Washington indicates that first came a separate extinction triggered by volcanic eruptions – both above water and below – that warmed the planet and killed life on the ocean floor.

The new research suggests that by the time of the (supposed) asteroid impact, life on the seafloor was already perishing due to the effects of huge volcanic eruptions on the Deccan Plateau, in what is now India.

The eruptions would have filled the atmosphere with fine particles, or aerosols, that initially cooled the planet, said Thomas Tobin, a UW doctoral student in Earth and space sciences and lead author of a paper in the journal Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology.

More importantly, the eruptions also would have spewed carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases to produce long-term warming (Not caused by humans? How heretic!) that led to the first of the two mass extinctions.

This is what I’ve been saying all along, even going so far as to having specifically blamed the Deccan Traps!

Here is a direct quote from Not by Fire but by Ice, in the chapter entitled “Fish Stew”:

Imagine how hot it must have been above the massive underwater lava flows of the end-Cretaceous! (Remember, according to Maurice Ewing, all 46,600 miles of our present-day underwater ridge system may have been initiated at the time.)

Staggering amounts of basalt must have poured into the seas.

The numbers are astronomical. Eighty percent of all volcanic eruptions occur underwater, said Steve Hammond, manager of NOAA’s Vents Program at the Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport, Oregon. (Bellevue, Washington, Journal American, 18 Aug 1993)

Using NOAA’s 80% ratio, and knowing that tow and a half million cubic kilometers of basal spewed out of the Deccan Traps and Brito-Arctic Flows alone, up to 10 million cubic kilometers (three million cubic miles) of basalt could have sizzled into end-Cretaceous seas almost overnight. (According to paleontologist Dewey McLean, “a good portion of the Deccan Traps, and related volcanism, was submarine.)

Ten million cubic kilometers of basalt would smother every state in the United States, including Alaska and Hawaii, under a solid layer of rock more than one kilometer (6/10ths of a mile) thick.

And every one of those ten million cubic kilometers of basalt would have been unbelievably hot. Up to 2,150°F hot. A planetary-sized hot water heater. That’s why ocean temperatures soared. The seas must have boiled–literally boiled–above the underwater ridges!

Fish stew. Clam chowder. Bouillabaise. Shells and all. The biggest stew pot in the world. No wonder so many fish went belly up.

See entire article, originally entitled “Dinosaur die-out may have been the second of two massive extinctions: Researchers believe huge underwater volcanoes ‘killed off all the sea-life first’”

Thanks to Oz Steamer for this link

“Hmm, doesn’t someone we both know have this idea that the warming oceans might be caused by underwater volcanoes?” asks Oz. “Now, what was his name, again?”


30 thoughts on “Huge underwater volcanoes killed off sea-life prior to dinosaur extinction, new research finds”

  1. It needs a correction, the volcanic activity would have cooled the planet, end of story.

    The increase CO2 would not have had much of an effect, as is evidence of past cold episodes with co2 concenrations much higher then that of today.

    Volcano’s have a cooling effect, not a warming effect, either short or long term.

    More wrong information as is usual when it comes to the climate.

    • I’m sorry – but how does that work ?

      Lava flows from the Magma under the crust to the surface and doesn’t cause any heating ?

      Well that is good news – I’ll remember to tell the people who flee in terror as lava consumes their houses in fireballs as I have seen happening in video footage in Hawaii that they are simply misguided.

      Of course volcanoes heat the Earth’s atmosphere – only a climate scientist could dispute that.

      It is speculated the aerosols produce a longer term increase in albedo and diminish incoming solar energy over the next few years and this leads to a possible cooling of the atmosphere which appears to be verifiable BUT there is no doubt about the heating effect.

      And no-one has witnessed the scale of vulcanism that occurred during these events.

      Don’t be so dismissive or sure of yourself – end of story.

    • Volcanic eruptions on land send ash particles and sulfates into the atmosphere, cooling the earth. Volcanic eruptions under the oceans simply heat the oceans, warming the earth. Both release CO2 and SO2, acidifying the oceans.

  2. I have purchased and read Robert’s Great book; Not by Fire but by Ice and can attest to his writing and standing behind his belief of these occurences. If it happened once it will happen again and may in fact have already begun.

  3. I’ve always wondered why some fish and reptiles that were contemporaries of the Cretaceous period dinos survived while every living specimen of dino went extinct. The only exception being neornithine birds.
    I have never accepted the asteroid theory as a complete explanation. This is one more piece in the puzzle but I still don’t think we have the whole picture. I get the boiling seas but not all water dwelling creatures of that era went extinct. Why should a shark survive but not a plesiosaur? What made it possible for turtles and crocs to carry on but not arenysaurus?
    Guess we have more work to do.

    • I always thought the asteroid theory was a little far-fetched. I mean, if that happened, why did some and not all perish? Why do we exist?

      There are many causes, but no feasible explanations. I guess it’s just guesswork.

    • “I’ve always wondered why some fish and reptiles that were contemporaries of the Cretaceous period dinos survived while every living specimen of dino went extinct. The only exception being neornithine birds.”

      The rabbis say that during the Flood the the waters were very hot. The only marine life to survive were those that stayed within a certain radius of the ark where the water was cooler.

    • No check out
      It seems it has peaked and will be coming down. Cycle 24 peak is even lower than the low Hathaway prediction!
      We could be entering a Maunder or Dalton by 2014 by the looks of it!

  4. I would suggest that it wasn’t warming that caused the problem but cooling due to SO2 from massive volcanism that caused the extinction. Also apart from the blast effect of asteriod impact that caused short term heating, the dust in the upper atmosphere contributed to the cooling. If the critters were not burned by the blast they were chilled and starved by the global freeze and darkness that shut down photo synthesis and plant growth. Only plants and animals that were small enough to be protected underground, under water or in sheltered environments and didn’t require large amounts of food survived. The CO2 levels were not the real problem. It was the SO2 levels that were the problem.

    If you study the permian extinction there was a problem with hydrogen sulfide and the creation of iron pyrite in the permian oceans and that points to excessive SO2 in the sea water rather than CO2. This would come from excessive volcanic activity. The siberian volcanism would have polluted the atmosphere with SO2 causing global cooling and would have polluted the oceans with sulphuric acid that would have reacted with iron in the sea water to create iron pyrite found in the extinction layer. The lack of coal formation shortly after the permian extinction could have something to do with acid damage to soils plus low temperatures that would slow the growth of plants.

    The same problem would have occurred at the end of the cretaceous and the impact in the yucatan would have been the coup de grace.

    One has to remember what happened in Iceland in 1783 to 1785 when Laki erupted. 120 million tons of SO2 went into the stratosphere and seriously messed up the worlds climate for at least 3 years and caused famines and many deaths around the world. This was childs play next to the siberian and deccan traps eruptions.

    Don’t worry about CO2, worry about SO2.

    • I have been pondering the idea that it wasn’t an asteroid that caused the extinction event, but a monster solar flare like the one described on this page:

      Also, notice on this Facebook page that 100 tons of Earth’s atmosphere are lost when there is a severe solar storm:

      “Space Weather tidbit for the day:
      During a severe solar storm, Earth loses about 100 tons of its atmosphere into Space.”

      It makes me think that the smaller critters, and ones that live underground, and ones that had young in the form of eggs or just very small young could have been the ones to survive. The larger animals (like mammoths?) could very well have flash-frozen and/or been electrocuted when the most of the atmosphere was blasted away.

      I don’t know whether the volcanic activity in the oceans happened before, after, or during the blast, but it was probably part and parcel of the destruction IMHO. I wonder how the atmosphere recharged after the event?

  5. H2O > Water Vapor = The MOST Potent of the ‘greenhouse’ gases.

    It’s quite simple to understand.
    This massive undersea eruption, Deccan Traps, mid-oceanic rifts, etc. at the end-Cretaceous would cloud up the entire planet, leading to massive cooling.

    • wup, looks like Chixulub did just that, worldwide cooling followed by warming after the atmosphere cleared. See Chixulub/Deccan Traps – Jan Smit video
      (link a few comments above)

  6. Does anyone think as I do that the age of the dinosaurs might have produced an intelligent dinosaur species capable of building advanced technology ? If such a thing is the truth then we could then contemplate the possibility that megolithic sites including the Egyptian pyramids were constructed millions of years ago. Obviously we cannot entirely rule out such a senario because we still do not possess a method by which to date the building of such stone monuments. We only theorise that the pyramids were built by the pharoahs of Egypt simply because of a few surviving texts. Maybe the Egyptians were as perplexed as we are even to this day. They theorised about armies of slaves hauling the blocks up ramps … same as we do still. However scientific investigation is making it obvious that we do not know how the pyramids were built and we do not know why they were built. I highly recommend that we seriously start thinking about the age of the dinosaurs a bit more interestingly. Fossils are actually rare and we only have a few to lead us into our speculations. Maybe the dinosaur age ended much the same as we will end. Nuclear War !

    • …What. The pyramids were not built millions of years ago…and dinosaurs were not THAT intelligent.

      No, we do not “theorise” that the Egyptians built the pyramids. THEY WROTE IT DOWN THAT THEY DID.

      Try not to be so stupid.

    • Name a dinosaur that has posable thumbs and then we’ll speak.

      …Buddy, where did you get your information from? Your post is so hilarious it’s actually sad. Dinosaurs did not build the Pyramids.

      Where is this “scientific investigation” that shows the Egyptians did not built the pyramids? No, slaves did not built them, architects did. You need to study Egyptology, buddy.

  7. nice to be vindicated isnt it Robert:-)
    I am noting some reasobale size quakes undersea down sth toward antarctic and mid pacific lately, wonder if anythings venting or likely to? from those fault areas.

  8. Wasn’t India on the opposite side of the earth from the Chicxulub Crater?
    Wouldn’t that indicate that the huge Asteroid impact would have been the cause of those volcanoes?
    Imagine an asteroid 6 miles across impacting the earth at 25,000 mph.
    I’d imagine the other side of the earth released a lot of that energy.

  9. Well that makes perfect sense to me – especially after reading the book Magnetic Reversals and Evolutionary Leaps in 2008. We’ve had enormous amounts of fish kills (and other sea animals) reported recently worldwide – just in the last 2 years now – and they seem to be increasing. Makes sense that underwater volcanism is increasing substantially as well and may be the culprit. There was an article on the old site somewhere in 2003 reading “underwater volcanoes killing billions of fish.” This also causes ice ages since we all know that the oceans warm (due to underwater volcanoes) while the land areas get colder (due to above water volcanoes) – so the difference between warm ocean and cold atmosphere means huge snowstorms during that transition and a new ice age. More likely increased volcanism relates to our weakening magnetic field.
    If sea life died before the dinosaurs did, (which may be happening again) what would happen to us ??

  10. Firstly, a comment on the order of the comments being posted in the order of the most recent comment being at the top of the list. I visit other sites where the order is opposite to this and I think it makes more sense.
    There, that’s said, now I can get on with the main reason for this comment being sent.
    I woke up this morning thinking I would post the link to documentary on the pyramids which has a particular relevance to this site. When I came across references to the pyramids in the thread here it seemed very timely. There is much of interest throughout the film, maybe nothing quite as interesting as the idea that they might have been built by dinosaurs, but it is the ending that has prompted me to send this.

    • Question for readers: How many of you would prefer that I change the order of comments, placing the most recent comments LAST?

      • up to you, I can figure it out.
        Each post lists time and date. One thing I would like is to be able to give a thumbs up/down on a comment.

        On a similar matter to this Article’s main topic, (Dinos and Pyramids notwithstanding…)

        The Salton Sea in CALIF, is remnant of a once larger cut off portion of ancient sea. Found this article today, short excerpt:

        “In some places the falling waterline has uncovered thermal fields studded with features like geysers and boiling mud pots spewing clouds of steam and sulfur dioxide gas that smells like rotten eggs.”,0,1741880.story

        Article says that evaporation is greater than new waters flowing in, but the excerpt above suggests another possible reason for increased evaporation of the Salton Sea. Whattaya think?

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