Volcanoes and the Great Dying

Volcano (Illustration credit: Abby McBride)Catastrophe struck in 1783 when a volcanic fissure in Iceland belched forth a lethal fog of hydrofluoric acid that spread across Europe, devastating the landscape and its inhabitants along the way. But according to volcano expert Dr. Lindy Elkins-Tanton, that was nothing compared to the Siberian Flood Basalts eruption of 252 million years ago – which caused a change in climate that may be to blame for the largest extinction in history.

In a recent lecture titled ‘Volcanoes and the Great Dying,’ hosted by Bowdoin’s Earth and Oceanographic Science Department, Elkins-Tanton compared that major atmospheric change with the one going on today.

Elkins-Tanton is the director of the Department of Terrestrial Magnetism at the Carnegie Institution for Science, a Mineralogical Society of America Distinguished Lecturer, and an expert on all things volcano. Read more about her talk at Bowdoin.

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