Trivia/Brain Teaser (Science, this time.)

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    Jan 13, 2008 4:08 PM GMT
    We all know about how the dinosaurs were snuffed at the end of the Cretaceous period out by an asteroid or meteor slamming into the Earth.

    There was a much bigger mass extinction which ended the Permian period before that and snuffed 90% of all plant and animal species, including the gorgons.

    What was the cause of this mass extinction?
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    Jan 13, 2008 4:52 PM GMT
    UM, was it smoking?
    Pretty sure I saw a far side "article" about this.
    icon_biggrin.gif
  • GQjock

    Posts: 11649

    Jan 13, 2008 4:54 PM GMT
    The scientific concensus
    which is borne out in the geologic record shows that there was a large upwelling of magma from the center of the earth when the super-continent of Pangea was formed leading to an increase of volcanic activity which lead to a prolonged blotting out of the sun because so much volcanic ash was thrown up into the atmosphere
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    Jan 13, 2008 5:56 PM GMT
    There is no scientific consensus on the cause of the end-Permian event. There are only a few clues and a lot of different theories, all of which are very much open to debate. One of them involves the near (but not certain) coincidental eruption of some major flood basalts (mainly the Siberian Traps,) but this was certainly not the formation of Pangea.

    Even the KT event isn't completely cut and dried. The Chixulub impact seems spot on coincidental, but the eruption of the Deccan Traps is also remarkably close to the extinction.

    Incidentally, the youngest massive flood basalt province is the Columbia River Basalts from about 15 million years ago. The individual lava flows traveled as far as 300 miles and the best guess is that they moved at between 6 and 10 miles per hour. (You could almost - but not quite - out run them. Great SciFi movie premise...) On my lunch-time bike route, I pass an area where the lava swallowed a forest. (The rivers have carved out cross-sections so you can see the rocks.) There are holes in the rock where tree-molds formed and a few petrified logs. Not far away, there is even a small cave formed by the lava flowing over a rhinoceros. I'm glad I didn't live here then.
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    Jan 13, 2008 6:10 PM GMT
    Roseanne Barr got hungry????icon_eek.gif
  • cowboyathlete

    Posts: 1346

    Jan 13, 2008 6:13 PM GMT
    Luckydog76 saidRoseanne Barr got hungry????icon_eek.gif
    LMAO

  • Jan 13, 2008 6:53 PM GMT
    The was a show i think on the history channel about this. I think they called it "The Great Dieing." Ussually for such a large extinction like this to happen, there is no single event that can cause this. It's ussually started by one event leading to another and another and another.

    All life has evolved to take one one stress at a time, but when there are more then one, that's when thing start dieing off and the stonger ones live on.
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    Jan 13, 2008 7:13 PM GMT
    Keep guessing!
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    Jan 13, 2008 7:30 PM GMT
    homosexuality
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    Jan 13, 2008 7:32 PM GMT
    What a way to go! ... icon_biggrin.gif ... icon_biggrin.gif ... icon_biggrin.gif

    HINT: It affected the plants and animals at lower altitudes more than those at higher altitudes.
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    Jan 13, 2008 8:14 PM GMT
    that suggests something like outgassing and co2 levels...

    but it's only a wild guess.
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    Jan 13, 2008 8:20 PM GMT
    A really big flood? Polar ice caps melting...
  • HndsmKansan

    Posts: 16311

    Jan 13, 2008 8:28 PM GMT
    The Earth turned into a big ICE BALL CASLON!!

    Fortunately the heat with the techtonic plates released gases to cause the earth to warm up.....

    If I remember right, something about the continential drift ended because all the land masses were conjoined in one part of the world. The earth ended up freezing as a result.

    I think the whole thing is fascinating. To think the earth looks the way it does after the last half billion years... and that it was yellow, then methane green...then finally blue after the release of oxygen by the first plant organisms (can't remember the name) that were growing along the coasts.... But that the earth has looked significantly different much longer than it looks now.. is amazing
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    Jan 13, 2008 8:33 PM GMT
    PSBigJoey is on the best track. But it wasnt CO2. And of course, we want an explanation to any proposition.
  • HndsmKansan

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    Jan 13, 2008 8:35 PM GMT
    I still remember the Ice Ball proposal theory and their view. I'll have to review that.. but I'm fairly confident that was the reason for the extinction.

    I may not be remembering the timeframe you are referring to.... but my second guess would be due to vulcanism and the release of gasses by Volcanos.
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    Jan 13, 2008 9:07 PM GMT
    Kansan,

    Snowball earth was at the end of the proterozoic era. Let's hope we don't head back that direction again...
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    Jan 13, 2008 10:03 PM GMT
    Ok, if it wasnt CO2, it probably was _______. ... icon_rolleyes.gif

    We're talking extinction here, folks ...*gasp, gasp* ...fall down dead. ... icon_eek.gif

    What happened to it and why? ... icon_confused.gif

    [Oh good, finally a question that isn't solved in 10 minutes. ... icon_biggrin.gif
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    Jan 13, 2008 10:38 PM GMT
    Caslon saidOk, if it wasnt CO2, it probably was _______. ... icon_rolleyes.gif

    We're talking extinction here, folks ...*gasp, gasp* ...fall down dead. ... icon_eek.gif

    What happened to it and why? ... icon_confused.gif

    [Oh good, finally a question that isn't solved in 10 minutes. ... icon_biggrin.gif



    Well, Wiki seems to think (and yes I go to wiki for a great many things) that the release of methane from (as Mindgarden said) the Siberian Traps was in part responsible for the mass extinction. But the article also says the oceans were not pleasant places at the time, having little dissolved oxygen. This favored bacteria that like to release hydrogen sulfides in the ocean, which is toxic to most plants and animals. Seems like all these effects worked together to make things very difficult in the ocean and on land.
  • MSUBioNerd

    Posts: 1813

    Jan 13, 2008 10:43 PM GMT
    There are quite a few explanations given for the end Permian extinction event. Volcanic eruptions, particularly the Siberian Traps, released a lot of CO2, but it's unlikely that it was enough to kill as many things as died. However, there is also some evidence of H2S being released from ocean vents. This would explain why a greater percentage of marine life died than terrestrial, but it fails to account for the fact that land die-offs were seen prior to marine ones. A combination of CO2 eruption with this causing the release of CH4 from various frozen sources that then thawed could have raised mean global temperature by 10 degrees. That would account for massive terrestrial extinctions, but still not necessarily explain the marine ones, as a rising ocean would provide *more* marine habitat. Some scientists argue for the Wilkes impact crater in Antarctica as a cause; others think that the loss of coastal habitats as Pangea formed was the primary issue. And a lot of people think that it's probably a combination of more than one of the above causes.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jan 13, 2008 10:57 PM GMT
    Shot in the dark here but I'm guessing CO (carbon monoxide) from volcanic activity.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jan 13, 2008 10:59 PM GMT
    Noah's flood. It's a fact. I was the museum in KY.
  • HndsmKansan

    Posts: 16311

    Jan 13, 2008 11:01 PM GMT
    I already guessed that oneicon_cry.gif

    Um...the volcanic activity, not any Noahs Flood
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    Jan 14, 2008 1:19 AM GMT
    Actually, come to think of it, it was the result of the opposite of flooding.
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    Jan 14, 2008 4:14 PM GMT
    The Answer Is:.....



    For unknown reasons, the Earth's core went thru a period of less activity, allowing the Earth's crust to settle a bit.

    This caused the ocean's floor to drop, taking the sea level with it. The drop in sea level exposed a lot of organic matter which started to decompose in contact with the air. The decompostion/oxidation of this organic matter bound up so much oxygen in the atmoshpere that it made a significant change in the atmosphere's oxygen level.

    Plants and animals that lived at low altitudes and were used to an oxygen rich atmosphere died out due to the lack of oxygen. Plants and animals at higher elevations, which were used to a thinner, less oxygen rich atmosphere, survived and, in fact, were able to invade the lower altitudes due to the lack of competiton.
  • HndsmKansan

    Posts: 16311

    Jan 14, 2008 4:15 PM GMT
    The next one (trivia/brain teaser).. Science.. we get to do on the planets... LOL