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Terrestrial Origins and Evolution
Planktonic foraminifera trapped in deccan lava flows
11/19/11

 

Princeton University researchers found that massive, prolonged eruptions of the Deccan Traps in India gradually eliminated species and resulted in the Cretaceous-Tertiary mass extinction that killed the dinosaurs 65 million years ago. Marine sediment trapped between Deccan lava flows revealed that a species known as planktonic foraminifera — widely used to gauge the severity of prehistoric disasters — succumbed to lava mega-flows and volcano-induced environmental stress such as acid rain and drastic climate changes. As conditions on Earth worsened, large, variedspecies (left) were eliminated. The no more than seven or eight smaller species (right) that remained dwarfed further. Credit: Image courtesy of Gerta Keller



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