Sunday, July 2, 2006 5:37:21 PM
The recent discovery of a large igneous province in Australia with more than 500 million years old basalts of about the same age as a mass extinction event in the Cambrian is met with kiss hands from those believing in volcanic causes.
According to a publication in Geology - June 2006; v. 34; no. 6; p. 461-464 - (http://geology.geoscienceworld.org/cgi/content/abstract/34/6/461) the newly identified Kalkarindji Continental Flood Basalt Province covered at least 650,000 square kilometres with more than 190,000 cubic kilometres of lava, but it has been suggested that lava floods buried more than a million square kilometres to an average depth of 500 metres. The volcano might have erupted for a million years, spewing out a million cubic kilometres of lava. In some places it might have been more than 1.5 kilometres thick. This single huge volcanic eruptive episode took place between 505 and 508 million years ago. It is known that extinction events 500 to 515 million years ago wiped out a large number of species.
The eruption might have been triggered by shifting plate tectonics, which, about the same time, rotated Australia 90 degrees anti-clockwise.
Abstract of original publication in the journal Geology: http://geology.geoscienceworld.org/cgi/content/abstract/34/6/461
News brought by ABC: http://abc.net.au/science/news/ancient/AncientRepublish_1671983.htm
News brought by the Sydney Morning Herald: http://www.smh.com.au/news/science/the-volcano-that-ate-australia/2006/06/29/1151174333917.html#
See also my blog on Mass Extinctions – end of Permian: