While most scientists agree that a meteor strike killed the dinosaurs, the cause of the largest mass extinction in Earths history, 251 million years ago, is still unknown, according to geologists.
"During the end-Permian extinction 95 percent of all species on Earth became extinct, compared to only 75 percent during the KT when the dinosaurs disappeared," says Dr. Lee R. Kump, professor of geosciences. "The end-Permian is puzzling. There is no convincing smoking gun, no compelling evidence of an asteroid impact."
Researchers have shown that the deep oceans were anoxic, lacking oxygen, in the late Permian and research shows that the continental shelf areas in the end-Permian were also anoxic. One explanation is that sea level rose so that the anoxic deep water was covering the shelf. Another possibility is that the surface ocean and deep ocean mixed, bringing anoxic waters to the surface.
A’ndrea Elyse Messer | EurekAlert!
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