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

As a passionate science communicator, Jesse Rogerson loves promoting science literacy to the public. He frequently represents the Canada Aviation and Space Museum on television and radio, social media, and at conferences. A trained and practicing astrophysicist, Jesse holds a PhD in observational astrophysics from York University, and publishes his research in peer-reviewed journals. Jesse enjoys riding his motorcycle, board games, and ultimate frisbee.