Friday Fotos: More Volcanic Eruptions and new study suggests massive spewage caused widespread extinction 200 million years ago

March 22, 2013

Although we did a Friday Foto post on volcanic eruptions last month, a new study suggests that mega volcanoes may have led to the extermination of half of Earth’s species some 200 million years ago.

pin-volcanoAccording to LiveScience, the release of gases from giant eruptions caused climate change that led to the End-Triassic Extinction, the widespread loss of land and sea species that made way for the rise of the dinosaurs, the research says.

The new study, published Thursday, March 21, in the journal Science, shows that a set of major eruptions spanning from what is now New Jersey to Morocco occurred very close to the time of the extinction.

Scientists suspected previously that such volcanic activity and the resultant climate change were responsible for this major extinction and at least four others. But researchers weren’t able to constrain the dates of the eruptions and extinctions well enough to prove the hypothesis. The new study, however, dates the End-Triassic Extinction to 201.56 million years ago, the same time the volcanoes were blowing their tops.

Facts and figures about volcanoes

A volcano is a mountain that opens downward to a reservoir of molten rock (like a huge pool of melted rocks) below the earth’s surface. Unlike mountains, which are pushed up from the earth’s crust, volcanoes are formed by their buildup of lava, ash flows, and airborne ash and dust. When pressure from gases and molten rock becomes strong enough to cause an explosion, it erupts and starts to spew gases and rocks through the opening.

Volcanic eruptions can hurl hot rocks (sometimes called tephra) for at least 20 miles (32 km) and cause sideways blasts, lava flows, hot ash flows, avalanches, landslides and mudflows (also called lahars). They can also cause earthquakes, thunderstorms, flash floods, wildfires, and tsunamis. Sometimes volcanic eruptions can drive people from their homes forever.

Did you know…

  • at least 20 volcanoes will probably be erupting as you read these words?! For example, Italy’s Stromboli has been almost continuously erupting over 2,000 years.
  • there are an estimated 1 million volcanoes on the ocean’s floor that pump out roughly 3/4 of the lava reaching the earth’s surface?!
  • the “Ring of Fire” that encircles the Pacific Ocean has about 450 historically active volcanoes?!
  • more than 65 active or potentially active volcanoes exist in the U.S. and over 40 of them are in Alaska?!
  • Yellowstone National Park actually sits on top of a supervolcano which erupted 3 times in the past 2 million years forming 3 massive calderas (or huge craters). The largest one — Yellowstone Caldera — is more than 60 miles (100 km) across. Some other large calderas formed by supervolcanoes are in Alaska, eastern California, Indonesia, Japan, New Zealand and South America.

Nature’s fury and beauty

Although volcanic eruptions can create havoc, misery and death with their fury, they can also provide spectacular views and beautiful photos. For example…

Lightning flashes around ash plume of the Puyehue-Cordon Caulle volcano chain near Entrelagos, Chile. (Carlos Gutierrez/Reuters

Puyehue-Conron Caulle volcano in Chile

An arching lava fountain, about 12 meters high, spurts from an early vent in the Puu Oo eruption of Kilauea Volcano, Hawaii. U. S. Geological Survey photo by Jim Griggs

USGS photo of arching Lava fountain in Hawaii

   

 Mount Etna

Mount Etna

Mt Etna spew

Lightning over Sinmoedake peak REUTERS/Minami-Nippon Shimbun/Handout via Totallycoolpix.com

lightning over Shinmoedake peak

Shinmoedake volcanic eruption with lightning

Also check out our Friday Fotos: Amazing Volcanic Eruptions (and links to our As the Earth Hurls series) …

Have a great weekend! 🙂 j & B

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Friday Fotos: Awesome Volcanic Eruptions (and links to our As the Earth Hurls series)

February 1, 2013

A few years ago Twisted Sifter compiled some incredible photos of volcanic eruptions so we wanted to share some of our faves in today’s Friday Foto post. We’re also including some links to our “As the Earth Hurls” series we did back in 2010 for APN.

 

Chaiten Volcano, Chile – May 2, 2008

lightning and eruption at Chaiten Volcano Chile

Photograph by CARLOS GUTIERREZ

Mount Rinjani, Indonesia 1994

Lightning and eruption at Mount Rinjani volcano in Indonesia

Photograph by OLIVER SPALT

Eyjafjallajokul Volcano, Iceland – April 17, 2010

volcanic eruption and lightning

Photograph by LUCAS JACKSON/REUTERS

See more volcanic eruption pics and stats and check out our 3-part “As the Earth Hurls” series from 2010 on the American Preppers Network blog — shortly after Iceland’s Eyjafjallajökull (a.k.a. Eyjafjöll or Eye-Eye) eruption.

Part 1 of 3 – Iceland  (one of the most geologically active places on the planet)

Part 2 of 3 – Supervolcanoes

Part 3 of 3 – Safety tips  (things to do before, during and after a volcanic eruption)

Stay safe and have a great weekend! j & B

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