Volcanoes Signaled the End for Dinosaurs

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a large open museum floor with multiple dinosaur skeletons
A new study suggests volcanoes triggered the end for the dinosaurs (image credit: Unsplash/Anthony Delanoix).

A study published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) has concluded that a mass extinction event allowed for the rise of the dinosaurs. At the end of the Triassic period, approximately 200 million years ago, a period of 'pulsed volcanism' radically changed the climate of Earth, leading to the eradication of many species. The vacant ecological niches led to the rise of the dinosaurs. The study relied on measuring the concentration of mercury levels in rocks from 4 different continents; mercury is released when volcanoes erupt, reaching high into the atmosphere and settling globally.

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Volcanoes Signaled the End for Dinosaurs
Rebecca Morelle
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Jesse Rogerson, PhD

Jesse is a passionate scientist, educator, and science communicator. As an assistant professor at York University in the Department of Science, Technology, and Society, he teaches three classes: History of Astronomy, Introduction to Astronomy, and Exploring the Solar System. He frequently collaborates with the Canada Aviation and Space Museum, and lends his expert voice to the Ingenium Channel. Jesse is an astrophysicist, and his research explores how super massive black holes evolve through time. Whether in the classroom, through social media, or on TV, he encourages conversations about how science and society intersect, and why science is relevant in our daily lives.