The mass extinction event — one of the five biggest mass extinctions to ever occur on Earth — likely took place between 232 million to 234 million years ago, CNN reports.
Scientists have called it the Carnian Pluvial Episode.
- “So far, palaeontologists had identified five ‘big’ mass extinctions in the past 500 million years of the history of life,” said study co-author Jacopo Dal Corso, a geologist at China University of Geosciences at Wuhan. “Each of these had a profound effect on the evolution of the Earth and of life. We have identified another great extinction event, and it evidently had a major role in helping to reset life on land and in the oceans, marking the origins of modern ecosystems.”
The scientists said volcanic eruptions in Canada likely caused the extinction. A huge amount of volcanic basalt charred North America in the process, CNN reports.
- “The eruptions were so huge, they pumped vast amounts of greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide, and there were spikes of global warming,” Dal Corso said.
The findings were published in the Science Advance.
The researchers from reviewed all geological and paleontological data to determine what happened back then.