5 Jun 09 – “Undersea volcanic activity triggered a mass extinction of marine life and buried a thick mat of organic matter on the sea floor about 93 million years ago, which became a major source of oil,” says a recent article in Science Daily.
As you already know if you’ve read Magnetic Reversals and Evolutionary Leaps, I think that oil was created in our very own skies. It was created, not as a result of the volcanic activity, but coincident with it.
U of A scientists Steven Turgeon and Robert Creaser say that the lava that erupted into the water “altered the chemistry of the sea and possibly of the atmosphere.”
I agree. In addition, I think that lava would have temporarily heated the seas.
Turgeon and Creaser found specific isotope levels of the element osmium, an indicator of volcanism in seawater, in black shale-rocks containing high amounts of organic matter-drilled off the coast of South America and in the mountains of central Italy.
Yes, black shales can contain huge amounts of carbon.
Here’s a quote from Magnetic Reversals and Evolutionary Leaps:
“A visitor center in Parachute, Colorado, tells of a homesteader who built a black shale fireplace in his new home, only to watch his house burn to the ground after lighting a fire for his housewarming party.”
I might also mention that black shales are 550 percent more radioactive than other sedimentary rocks. I think that’s proof, all by itself, that there were much bigger forces than mere volcanic activity going on at the time.
An odd side-effect of the underwater volcanic eruptions, say the two U of A scientists, “was that temperatures and carbon dioxide levels on the Earth’s surface actually dropped.”
All of that red-hot lava (2,150F hot) pouring into the seas leads to excess evaporation, which leads to more precipitation, which – if it falls in the winter – leads to an ice age and thence to lower CO2 levels.
See entire article, originally entitled “Volcanic Eruptions May Have Wiped Out Ocean Life 94 Million Years Ago”:
Thanks to Peter Pesola for this link