In a major breakthrough into the research on earth’s past climate, a new study has revealed that the planet was unstable prior to the asteroid impact that led to dinosaurs being wiped out.
The research, conducted by the Northwestern University in US, said earth was already experiencing a carbon cycle instability before the asteroid impact.
The researchers collected evidences from the Antarctic seashells. It was observed that in the run-up to the extinction event the chemistry of the sea shells shifted in response to the surge of carbon in the oceans.
According to the study, in the years before the asteroid hit the Deccan Traps—a volcanic province located in modern India—emitted massive amounts of carbon dioxide.
“The concentration of carbon dioxide acidified the oceans, affecting the living organisms,” it said.
Benjamin Linzmeier, one of the researchers of the study, said the data on change in the environment before the asteroid impact correlates to the eruption in the Deccan Traps.
The researchers at Northwestern University are trying to gauge how the earth responded to the past extreme warning and carbon dioxide input to help understand how the planet will react to the current climate change, caused by human activities.
“The Earth was clearly under stress before the major mass extinction event. The asteroid impact coincides with pre-existing carbon cycle instability. But that doesn’t mean we have answers to what actually caused the extinction,” said Andrew D Jacobson, senior author of the paper.
The report would soon be published in the journal ‘Geology’ later this month.