Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Prehistoric global warming may have contributed to fossil preservation

14.10.2005


Mass kills of fish, insects and plants could have saved Earth from greenhouse sterilization



Prehistoric global warming episodes from massive atmospheric pollution involving carbon dioxide and methane could have created and preserved "mass kills" of wildlife, according to a University of Oregon study presented at the Geological Society of America’s annual meeting.

The work, done by Gregory Retallack, professor of geologic sciences at Oregon, involved a worldwide compilation of thousands of exceptionally well preserved fossil assemblages of fish, crustaceans, insects, starfish and other life forms. There are only about 41 episodes of exceptional preservation from the last 500 million years, and each episode is widely distributed around the world.


Well known examples of such preservation of complete soft-bodied fish and other creatures include the Burgess Shale (dating to the Middle Cambrian Period of about 508 million years ago and found near Field, British Columbia) and the Solnhofen Plattenkalk (dating to the Late Jurassic Period of about 150 million years ago and found in Bavaria, Germany). Such exceptional assemblages were thought to have been preserved in environments that were unusually low in oxygen, highly saline, very cold, or extremely dry. What was not suspected until the new compilation was the global distribution of other exceptional fossil deposits of the same ages. Independent estimates of atmospheric pollution crises come from studies of carbon anomalies, microscopic pores of fossil leaves and climatic indicators from fossil soils. Methane outbursts from volcanically intruded coals and submarine gas hydrates are prime suspects for these lethal atmospheric pollution events.

"Lowered levels of oxygen can kill fish and other creatures in marginally aerated environments, and also preserve their carcasses from dismemberment and decay," said Retallack. "Data from carbon anomalies and microscopic leaf pores indicate that some of these killer greenhouses ramped up, within only a few thousand years, to intolerable levels of more than 10 times the modern level of atmospheric carbon dioxide. What stopped them from continuing on to a sterile greenhouse atmosphere like that of Venus? It was the widespread death and burial of animals and their carbon which created fossil bonanzas, the likes of which may have saved us from the heat sterilization experienced by our sister planet."

Mary Stanik | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.uoregon.edu

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: A Challenging European Research Project to Develop New Tiny Microscopes

The Institute of Semiconductor Technology and the Institute of Physical and Theoretical Chemistry, both members of the Laboratory for Emerging Nanometrology (LENA), at Technische Universität Braunschweig are partners in a new European research project entitled ChipScope, which aims to develop a completely new and extremely small optical microscope capable of observing the interior of living cells in real time. A consortium of 7 partners from 5 countries will tackle this issue with very ambitious objectives during a four-year research program.

To demonstrate the usefulness of this new scientific tool, at the end of the project the developed chip-sized microscope will be used to observe in real-time...

Im Focus: Giant Magnetic Fields in the Universe

Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.

The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.

Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...

Im Focus: Tracing down linear ubiquitination

Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.

Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...

Im Focus: Perovskite edges can be tuned for optoelectronic performance

Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs

In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...

Im Focus: Polymer-coated silicon nanosheets as alternative to graphene: A perfect team for nanoelectronics

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International Land Use Symposium ILUS 2017: Call for Abstracts and Registration open

20.03.2017 | Event News

CONNECT 2017: International congress on connective tissue

14.03.2017 | Event News

ICTM Conference: Turbine Construction between Big Data and Additive Manufacturing

07.03.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Researchers shoot for success with simulations of laser pulse-material interactions

29.03.2017 | Materials Sciences

Igniting a solar flare in the corona with lower-atmosphere kindling

29.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

As sea level rises, much of Honolulu and Waikiki vulnerable to groundwater inundation

29.03.2017 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>