The mass extinction at the end of Perm is the worst mass extinction ever recorded, during which ~ 80% of marine species became extinct.
While the onset of this extinction was caused by extreme and rapid warming, the recovery of both the global climate and ecosystems has been extremely slow. Temperatures remained deadly hot and ecosystems remain depleted for more than 5 million years.
Based on our current understanding of how the carbon cycle and climate work, temperatures should recover much faster.
This delayed recovery stands out from all other known events of mass extinction and has confused scientists for many years without any real explanation.
Recently published document published by Natural communications“The decline in the marine silica ecosystem has led to persistent anomalous early Triassic heat,” said University of Waikato researchers Terry Eyson and Sofia Rausi of the Earth-Life Interactions (ELI) research group. marine organisms during this event both sharpened climate change and is responsible for 5 million years of slowing global temperature recovery.
This provides, for the first time, a comprehensive explanation of why it took so long for temperatures to return to what they were before the mass extinction.
Clay minerals are formed in the oceans and release CO2. Clay minerals are mainly composed of silicon dioxide and therefore cannot be formed without it. Silicon-secreting organisms compete for this silica, which means that a healthy silicon ecosystem that uses large amounts of silica will work to reduce CO2 free from the formation of clay minerals.
It is well established that there was widespread loss of silicon dioxide in the oceans during the mass extinction at the end of Perm, and that these organisms have not recovered for 5 million years. This study demonstrated using a carbon cycle model, as well as mineralogical analysis that this would lead to increased CO2 are released into the atmosphere during this time, maintaining high temperatures on Earth for an extended period of time.
This study provides the first direct evidence in history that organisms secreting silica play a very important role in regulating the Earth’s climate, which has never been recognized before.
Terry T. Isson et al, The decline of the marine silicon ecosystem has led to prolonged anomalous early Triassic heat, Natural communications (2022). DOI: 10.1038 / s41467-022-31128-3
Quote: Explained the mysterious behavior of the climate during the worst mass extinction on Earth (2022, June 21), retrieved on June 21, 2022 from https://phys.org/news/2022-06-mysterious-climate -behavior-earth-severe.html
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