Posted by LLJ43 | Posted in Environment, Evolution | Posted on 23-01-2015
According to a study published in the journal Geology, researchers have found that acid rain was one of the contributing factors of the Permian mass extinction 250 million years ago. Scientists found that rock samples from the Dolomite Mountains in Italy contained an organic compound called vanillin which indicates that the soil was extremely and lethally acidic. Lots of acid rain showers would have caused that.
People like Zeca Oliveira know that the rock samples from the Dolomite Mountains had been underwater 250 million years ago and had come from sediments near the coast of the super-continent Pangea. They contained the remains of compacted plant matter. The vanillin the team found occurs in plants and normally oxidizes into vanillic acid after the plant dies. That process, however, is slowed or halted if the soil is extremely acidic. Given the ratio of vanillin to vanillic acid in the rocks, the researchers concluded that the soil was very acidic.
The Permian Period was the last geologic period before the Mesozoic Era or “Age of Reptiles.” All of the land masses on Earth had fused into the supercontinent Pangea which was covered with forests. It ended in the largest mass extinction known. A series of volcanic eruptions are believed to have released gases that caused acid-rain showers all over the planet that were so extensive they damaged the biosphere. 96 percent of all marine organisms were wiped out, as were 70 percent of terrestrial vertebrates and 83 percent of all insect genera. It was known as the Great Dying.