Sunday, May 3, 2020
Mass Extinctions On The Earth Essay Example For Students
Mass Extinctions On The Earth Essay Intro:Sixty-five million years ago, some phenomenon triggered mass extinctions on the lands and in the oceans so profound that they define the geological boundary between the older Mesozoic Era, often called the Age of Reptiles, and the modern Cenozoic Era, the Age of Mammals.On a finer scale, the extinctions define the boundary between the Cretaceous (geological symbol, K), and Tertiary (T) periods. This mass extinction is usually referred to as the K-T extinctions. The dinosaurs became extinct during the K-T mass extinction. To examine how the K-T extinctions fit into a broader perspective, please see the The cause of the K-T extinctions is one of the great mysteries in science, and many scientists have proposed theories to account for it. Theories span a vast spectrum of causes including: sea level change, supernova explosions, climate change, and on and on. Beginning in the 1980s, two new theories became the topic of an intense scientific debate. They are the K-T impact extinctio n theory originated by the Nobelist physicist, Luis Alvarez, and his team, and the K-T Deccan Traps extinction theory, which, for short, is called volcano-greenhouse theory. Details of the Impact TheoryIn the mid-late 1970s, Luis Alvarez and his impact team began searching for the cause of the K-T extinctions. His evidence of impact was enrichment of the chemical, iridium, in a thin layer of clay a few centimenters thick at the K-T boundary. His original theory held that a giant asteroid struck earth 65 million years ago, blasting so much dust into the atmosphere that it blocked out sunlight, and plunged earth into the blackness and cold of a sudden, short-duration, impact winter.According to Alvarez theory, the global blackout triggered extinctions among the plant kingdom, and then among herbivores that depended upon plants for food, and then among the carnivores that ate the herbivores. Those smaller animals that could hide and hibernate until the sun came out again must have sruvived and formed the animals that there are today. There is other evidence for this theory : there is a layer of iridium found on top of the fossils which can be found all over the world. this is important becouse there is a lot of iridium on asteroids while on earth it is only deep down inside the crater. Details of the Volcano Theory:Another less popular theory to explain the disappearance of the dinosaurs suggests that a drop in the oxygen levels in the lower atmosphere led to the gradual death of all kinds of species. Robert Barner and Gary Landis of the U.S. Geological survey determined that the air that the dinosaurs consumed contained 50% more oxygen than the air today. This can be the same for us as trying to breathe to the same air found at the sea level as compared to air at 3500 m. There was a lot of volcanoe eruptions at the same time (and since they took up soo much air it was hard for the dinosaurs to breathe , so they fianlly died. The evidence is that the fossils found in the ground contain traces of lager traces of Oxygen. How can humans stop this?Since mankind is much smarter than the reptiles it is obvious that we can stop these asteroids from colliding with the earth. The only question is how. Now we have nuclear devices which can be put on these asteroids so that they can explode just in time before its course is doomed towards earth.