The ancient sea was more like a giant salty lake than a rolling ocean, report scientists from Imperial College London in the May edition of the Journal of the Geological Society. A new computer model that simulates how tides in North West Europe would have behaved 300 million years ago shows a sea with so little movement that it was unlike any on Earth today.
Using information on the ancient land masses and the tidal pull of the Moon, the new computer modelling system reveals a picture of a Palaeozoic ocean in which even basic lifeforms would have struggled to survive. Without tides, shallow coastal water is not mixed up, preventing life-saving oxygen from being circulated.
This shortage of oxygen causes lifeforms such as plankton to die and the decay of these lifeforms uses up further oxygen, contributing to the creation of an environment unable to support life. The Palaeozoic period lasted from 570 to 245 million years ago.
Laura Gallagher | alfa
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