The LPME, also known as the “Great Dying,” was the largest mass extinction event in Earth’s history, occurring around 252 million years ago. It killed off about 96 percent of all marine species and 70 percent of land vertebrates, ending the Permian and marking the start of the Triassic period (252-201 million years ago). There is still a lot of disagreement about what exactly caused the extinction, with theories ranging from a meteor strike to a sudden change in climate. Recently, researchers have been trying to determine the cause of this event and uncovered a ‘smoking gun’ – mercury, one of the heavy metals connected to volcanic eruptions. Frank shows parallels between the current big climate changes and the LPME, suggesting that it is relevant to understanding what might happen in the future. A significant amount of gases, such as CO2 and methane, as well as particles and heavy metals, were released and deposited globally with the lava eruption, which could have been the cause of the extinction event.
Today: December 2, 2023