According to this article in Wired, many scientists now believe that massive volcanic eruptions in India are to blame for the extinction of the dinosaurs. Their findings contradict the prevailing cartoon theory that the dinosaurs really died of lung cancer and smoker’s breath.
The volcano theory rests on recent studies of huge lava flows in India. Scientists had previously thought that the flows had built up over millions of years, but recent evidence indicates that the flows were created in just over 10,000 years.
“We’re discovering that huge lava flows which can be in volume more than thousands of cubic kilometers would have erupted in decades,” said Vincent Courtillot of the University of Paris. “This is amazingly large flows, amazingly short time scales and amazing volcanic fluxes.”
All that lava in such a short time means billions of gallons of sulfur would have poured into the atmosphere, choking many of earth’s animal species and making things smell really eggy. Researchers say the findings mean that the giant asteroid that smacked into Mexico probably wasn’t the cause of the extinction:
All told, this would have put ten times more climate-changing emissions into the atmosphere than the asteroid impact.
Also supporting the volcanic theory is fossil evidence from Texas and Mexico that most of the species extinctions coincided with the final pulse of eruptions, not with the asteroid impact, which may have occurred some 300,000 years earlier, according to Gerta Keller of Princeton University.
“There is essentially no extinction associated with the impact,” Keller said.
Seeking to clear its name, the Mexican asteroid recently hired discrimination attorney Gloria Allred and is in talks with Paramount Pictures about a biopic starring Edward James Olmos: