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RE: Why was Earth a fiery hell 55 million years ago?



--- Dora Smith <villandra@austin.rr.com> schrieb:

> On "Global Warning", on the History Channel, it says
> that 55 million years 
> ago, earth was a "fiery hell".   It was covered with
> massive volcanic 
> activity that triggered a methane release.
> 
> Last massive volcanic activity on Earth I know of
> was teh volcanic traps in 
> India at the time of the end-Cretaceous extinction.
> 
> What are they talking about?

Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum. You could bathe at
the North Pole (it would have been fairly chilly, but
still... not colder than the North Sea during a warm
year's summer). Redwood trees at the polar circle.
Extreme enough to significantly upset atmospheric
circulation (which very, very rarely ever happens for
prolonged periods of time as usually planetary motion
rules).

A geologist would recognize this time from the change
in sedimentary marine rocks: all of a sudden
(geologically speaking) deposition of biogenic calcite
stops. The oceans became simply too acidic for
foraminifers, corals etc to thrive.

Eike


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