A massive asteroid strike 66 million years ago triggered a string of potent volcanic eruptions that spelled doom for the dinosaurs, US researchers said Thursday.
Just what led to the demise of the dinosaurs is often debated among scientists, and the latest findings in the journal Science suggest that both events are to blame, not one or the other.
Scientists studied the Deccan Traps lava flows in India, and their most accurate dating yet shows that the volcanoes doubled their output in close proximity to the asteroid or comet strike that set off the last mass extinction on Earth.
“Based on our dating of the lavas, we can be pretty certain that the volcanism and the impact occurred within 50,000 years of the extinction, so it becomes somewhat artificial to distinguish between them as killing mechanisms: both phenomena were clearly at work at the same time,” said lead researcher Paul Renne, a University of California, Berkeley professor of earth and planetary science.
“It is going to be basically impossible to ascribe actual atmospheric effects to one or the other. They both happened at the same time.”
Together, the asteroid impact and the volcanic eruptions would have “blanketed the planet with dust and noxious fumes, drastically changing the climate and sending many species to an early grave,” said a statement from UC Berkeley.
The impact of the asteroid changed the underground plumbing in the volcanoes, making some magma chambers larger so they spouted more lava when they erupted.
It would take Earth and its land and ocean life about 500,000 years to emerge from the devastation.
“If our high-precision dates continue to pin these three events – the impact, the extinction and the major pulse of volcanism – closer and closer together, people are going to have to accept the likelihood of a connection among them,” said co-author Mark Richards, also a UC Berkeley professor of earth and planetary science.
“The scenario we are suggesting — that the impact triggered the volcanism — does in fact reconcile what had previously appeared to be an unimaginable coincidence.”
Iceland commemorates first glacier lost to climate change
Iceland on Sunday honours the passing of Okjokull, its first glacier lost to climate change, as scientists warn that some 400 others on the subarctic island risk the same fate.
A bronze plaque will be unveiled in a ceremony starting around 1400 GMT to mark Okjokull -- which translates to "Ok glacier" -- in the west of Iceland, in the presence of local researchers and their peers at Rice University in the United States, who initiated the project.
Iceland's Prime Minister Katrin Jakobsdottir, Environment Minister Gudmundur Ingi Gudbrandsson, and the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Mary Robinson are also due to attend the event.
Watch: Hong Kong protesters gather for mass rally — in test of pro-democracy movement’s support
Tens of thousands of Hong Kong democracy activists gathered Sunday for a major rally to show the city's leaders their protest movement still attracts wide public support, despite mounting violence and increasingly stark warnings from Beijing.
Ten weeks of demonstrations have plunged the financial hub into crisis with images of masked black-clad protesters engulfed by tear gas during street battles with riot police stunning a city once renowned for its stability.
Communist-ruled mainland China has taken an increasingly hardline tone towards the protesters, decrying the “terrorist-like” actions of a violent hardcore minority among the demonstrators.
Workers were ordered not to protest or show any ‘resistance’ at Trump rally in Pennsylvania
Workers in attendance at President Donald Trump's rally at a Shell plant in Pennsylvania on Tuesday were ordered not to protest or do "anything viewed as resistance" during the event.
That's according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, which reported late Friday on the strict instructions employees were given by their bosses ahead of the event.
"No yelling, shouting, protesting, or anything viewed as resistance will be tolerated at the event," read orders from one contractor. "An underlying theme of the event is to promote good will from the unions. Your building trades leaders and jobs stewards have agreed to this."