Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

4/4/2014 (6 months ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Methane-spewing microbe was culprit in mass extinction, scientists say

Nearly all life on Earth became extinct 252 million years ago. According to Massachusetts Institute of Technology, or MIT scientists, the culprit was not an asteroid striking the planet, but a methane-spewing microbe.

The Permian-Triassic extinction has been defined as a natural event that heated up the Earth's biological systems.

The Permian-Triassic extinction has been defined as a natural event that heated up the Earth's biological systems.

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

4/4/2014 (6 months ago)

Published in Green

Keywords: Methane, extinction, Permian-Triassic


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Daniel Rothman, MIT Professor of Geophysics, says that massive volcanic eruptions and chemical changes coincided to dramatically change the climate and the chemistry of the ocean.

"When one examines old rocks that were deposited at the time, the results of those geochemical analyses indicate that there was a large influx of carbon into the Earth's system - that is, the oceans and the atmosphere - and that carbon likely entered system as CO2," Rothman says.

It is better to light one tiny candle than to curse the darkness --

The massive change happened in the "geological blink of an eye;" about 60,000 years, which killed 96 percent of life in the ocean and 70 percent of life on land. This era was known as the Permian-Triassic extinction event. In more concrete terms, the Great Dying.

The carbon dioxide that erupted from volcanos was a potent greenhouse gas. The process warmed the air and turned oceans acidic. Rothman now says that the volcanic activity in what is today Siberia cannot solely account for the global geo-chemical change.

"It's a gross correlation, and the question is how it might be related," he says. "It's not the only question, but it is the one of the questions we address in our paper." 

An analysis of the genomic record that revealed a marine microbe that produces methane and could be an important player in the massive die-off.

"Methane-producing microbes had already been present, but this was a particular microbe that could do it a little bit more efficiently than the others," he explains. "And so we've hypothesized that it might have been responsible for the outburst of carbon into the system - originally methane - and the methane would have been oxidized to CO2."

Rothman and colleagues report that the methane microbes experienced an explosive growth which was fueled by the mineral nickel, which they found in sedimentary rocks from those Siberian eruptions.

The nickel concentrations rose considerably just before extinction, which would have made a very favorable environment for the methane-producing microbes.

The Permian-Triassic extinction has been defined as a natural event that heated up the Earth's biological systems.

"It's not that unusual in the history of life for such things to occur," Rothman says. "The point is that life and the environment interact. They always have and they always will."

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for October 2014
Peace:
That the Lord may grant peace to those parts of the world most battered by war and violence.
World Mission Day: That World Mission Day may rekindle in every believer zeal for carrying the Gospel into all the world.



Comments


More Green

California drought is only to get worse, scientists warn Watch

Image of The drought will impact all of the United States as California's Central Valley is the

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Californians are praying for rainfall in the coming winter months. Everyone from the farmer to the well-heeled in Los Angeles, and San Francisco are praying for precipitation for relief from the sunbaked summer skies. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - "El ... continue reading


The mighty blue whale would be just a snack to this giant mega shark Watch

Image of The massive Megalodon shark could have preyed on baleen whales, now the largest animals in the world.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A new study from the Florida Museum of Natural History reveals that the ancient and giant shark Megalodon-which could reach sizes in upwards of 40 feet-may have preyed on early baleen whales. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The paper also suggests a new date ... continue reading


Dinosaur with freakishly big arms even more amazing than believed Watch

Image of The creature's name, Deinocheirus mirificus means unusual, horrible hands.

By Catholic Online - (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Paleontologists had long been mystified by the dinosaur known as "deinocheirus mirificus." Since the 1960s, only the huge arms of the prehistoric thunder lizard had been discovered. As more bits and pieces of the dinosaur have been brought to light, it appears ... continue reading


Antarctic ice reaches record level, but is global warming to blame? Watch

Image of Ice is expanding, but scientists warn it is a sign of global warming.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The Antarctic ice sheets have spread farther than any other time in modern, recorded history, according to scientists monitoring their spread. Scientists are unsure of exactly why the sheets are growing but that global warming likely has a role. LOS ANGELES, CA ... continue reading


Where's the global warming? Tempratures remain flat Watch

Image of Global warming? Really Mr. Connolly?

By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

According to climate change skeptics, the Earth's temperature has "plateaued" and global warming has taken a hiatus. Virtually all records seem to agree with this assessment, so what gives? LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Is the sky falling or not? From the looks ... continue reading


Holy Bat Cave Batman: Miao Room cavern in China, world's largest could accommodate jumbo jet Watch

Image of The cave would comfortably fit a Boeing 747, if you could get one in there - and is located about 325 feet underground. The cave also contains stalagmites as tall as 148 feet, which are among the world's biggest.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The huge Miao Room cavern have been declared by a wide margin as the world's largest cave. Measuring 380.7 million cubic feet in volume, the cave achieved recognitions as the world's largest thanks to British explorers. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - ... continue reading


Stanford scientists link California drought to global warming, NASA says 'not so fast' Watch

Image of California's farmers are asking people to pray for rain.

By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Stanford scientists say they have linked California's epic drought to global warming, although NASA scientists say they disagree. Regardless, the Golden State faces the most intense drought in recorded history with vast impacts on the state's residents. LOS ANGELES, CA ... continue reading


Half the world's animals went extinct over past 40 years Watch

Image of Northern lapwings, pictured, an once-familiar sight on British farmlands have fallen 60 percent and grey partridges have halved in number.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The news for the Animal Kingdom is uniformly grim: Half of the world's animals went extinct over the past 40 years, all of it due to the fault of humanity. D4estruction of habitat, unlawful hunting and the destruction of the environment has sent countless ... continue reading


A new weapon in the war against Climate Change. How moderates and radicals are joining forces Watch

Image of More militant environmentalism is being fazed out as radicals and moderates band together and turn to civil disobedience as an effective weapon.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

New York saw the largest climate-related march ever, where hundreds of thousands participated before the United Nations held a summit on climate change. The next day, hundreds were arrested in Manhattan as part of a demonstration against Wall Street, which blames ... continue reading


New hope for Monarch butterfly migration: butterflies seen entering Mexico Watch

Image of Butterflies have been sighted in the northern border state of Coahuila. This is slightly earlier than their usual arrival time when they come back in October from the United States and Canada, where they spend the summer.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Much dismay surrounded the scarcity of Monarch butterflies last year. The colorful black-and-orange creatures had dropped to their lowest level in 2013. There is new hope, Monarch butterflies have been seen entering Mexico earlier than usual, which foretells ... continue reading


All Green News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Ephesians 6:10-20
10 Finally, grow strong in the Lord, with the ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 144:1, 2, 9-10
1 [Of David] Blessed be Yahweh, my rock, who trains ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 13:31-35
31 Just at this time some Pharisees came up. 'Go ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for October 30th, 2014 Image

St. Alphonsus Rodriguez
October 30: Confessor and Jay brother, also called Alonso. He was born in ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter