AuthorTopic: Extinction & Geotectonics: Of Dinosaurs & Homo Saps  (Read 1844 times)

Offline RE

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Extinction & Geotectonics: Of Dinosaurs & Homo Saps
« on: July 12, 2015, 02:07:03 AM »

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   Published on the Doomstead Diner on July 12, 2015

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   Discuss this article at the Geological & Cosmological Events Table inside the Diner

   Going back a few years to my early days exploring collapse phenomena on the website, "coincidentally" with the massive economic perturbations of 2008-2009, there was a huge Earthquake Swarm at Yellowstone National Park, which sits right over a "hotspot" on the surface of the earth and has been the site where 3 known Supervolcanic Events took place in the geological history of the earth.

      The Yellowstone Caldera is the volcanic caldera and supervolcano located in Yellowstone National Park in the United States, sometimes referred to as the Yellowstone Supervolcano. The caldera and most of the park are located in the northwest corner of Wyoming. The major features of the caldera measure about 34 by 45 miles (55 by 72 km).[5]

      The caldera formed during the last of three supereruptions over the past 2.1 million years: the Huckleberry Ridge eruption 2.1 million years ago (which created the Island Park Caldera and the Huckleberry Ridge Tuff), the Mesa Falls eruption 1.3 million years ago (which created the Henry's Fork Caldera and the Mesa Falls Tuff) and the Lava Creek eruption 640,000 years ago (which created the Yellowstone Caldera and the Lava Creek Tuff).

   For folks interested in Collapse, nothing gets the juices flowing more than contemplating ULTIMATE Fast Collapse scenarios, of which the Supervolcano is among the most interesting, and also the most probable on the Geological level as well, since these things blow off with fair regularity, and it's a certainty one of them will blow again at some point in the future, although you can't pinpoint exactly when that will be.  Another difficult timeline question for the kollapsnik here.

   The other big one often brought up on the Cosmological level is the posibility of an Earth Collision with a Planet killer Size Asteroid.


   These also happen with some regularity, but not as often as supervolcanos blow off.  As far as Yellowstone is concerned, based on its cycles so far, it is due or overdue right now for a blowoff, and then there are a few others sprinkled around the planet that could blow at any time.

   However, do we really need a Supervolcano to go ballistic for geological disturbances to change the earth climate and ocean chemistry?  I don't think so, and evidence seems to bear this out.  When the Earthquake Swarm hit Yellowstone in 2009, I became very interested in this phenomenon, and with my friend Stormbringer on we ran one of the longest running and most popular threads there ever, it went over 100 pages deep in posts (20 to a page) and went on for months.  This got me curious about whether there actually was an increasing level of geotectonic activity, aka Earthquakes & Volcanic Eruptions.

   At least in the case of Earthquakes when beginning the research, it did appear true that Earthquakes were increasing in both Frequency & Magnitude over the last 20-30 years.  This was evident from the graphs supplied by DLindquist of the USGS.


   Total Strength 8+ Quakes 1975-2013


   Total Strength All Quakes 1975-2013

   Now, one of the "debunking" theories here is that there are not more quakes or stronger quakes, just they are being better reported.  However, seismographs in 1975 were plenty sensitive enough to measure any quake above say 4 on the Richter Scale anywhere on the Globe, and Geologists all over the world have been recording this stuff going well back to the early 20th Century.  So the records are pretty good, especially since 1975 when DLinquist's graphs start off.

   Now, earthquakes when they go off release a LOT of energy, the biggest ones past around 9 on the Richter Scale dwarf even the Tsar Bomba, the largest thermonuclear device ever detonated.  That would include the Sendai Quake that wrecked Fukushima and the Anchorage Quake of 1964.  Here's a list of significant Quakes from Wiki;

            Approximate Magnitude

            Approximate TNT for

            Seismic Energy Yield

            Joule equivalent



            7.5 g

            31.5 kJ

            Energy released by lighting 30 typical matches


            15 g

            63 kJ



            30 g

            130 kJ

            Large hand grenade


            84 g

            351 kJ



            480 g

            2.0 MJ



            1.1 kg

            4.9 MJ

            Single stick of dynamite [DynoMax Pro]


            2.2 kg

            9.8 MJ

            Seismic impact of typical small construction blast


            2.7 kg

            11 MJ



            15 kg

            63 MJ



            21 kg

            89 MJ

            West fertilizer plant explosion[21]


            85 kg

            360 MJ



            480 kg

            2.0 GJ

            Oklahoma City bombing, 1995


            2.7 metric tons

            11 GJ

            PEPCON fuel plant explosion, Henderson, Nevada, 1988


















               Irving, Texas earthquake, September 30, 2012


            9.5 metric tons

            40 GJ

            Explosion at Chernobyl nuclear power plant, 1986


            11 metric tons

            45 GJ

            Largest of the Manchester 2002 earthquake swarm[22]


            11 metric tons

            46 GJ

            Massive Ordnance Air Blast bomb


















               St. Patrick's Day earthquake, Auckland, New Zealand, 2013[23][24]


            15 metric tons

            63 GJ

            Johannesburg/South Africa, November 18, 2013


            43 metric tons

            180 GJ

            Kent Earthquake (Britain), 2007


















               Eastern Kentucky earthquake, November 2012


            480 metric tons

            2.0 TJ

            Lincolnshire earthquake (UK), 2008


















               M_\text{w} Ontario-Quebec earthquake (Canada), 2010[25][26]


            2.7 kilotons

            11 TJ

            Little Skull Mtn. earthquake (Nevada, USA), 1992


















               M_\text{w} Alum Rock earthquake (California), 2007

               M_\text{w} Chino Hills earthquake (Southern California), 2008


            3.8 kilotons

            16 TJ

            Newcastle, Australia, 1989


















               Oklahoma, 2011

               Pernik, Bulgaria, 2012


            15 kilotons

            63 TJ

            Double Spring Flat earthquake (Nevada, USA), 1994


















               Approximate yield of the Little Boy Atomic Bomb dropped on Hiroshima (~16 kt)


            43 kilotons

            180 TJ

            M_\text{w} Rhodes earthquake (Greece), 2008


















               Jericho earthquake (British Palestine), 1927

               Christchurch earthquake (New Zealand), 2011


            60 kilotons

            250 TJ

            Kaohsiung earthquake (Taiwan), 2010


















               Vancouver earthquake (Canada), 2011


            85 kilotons

            360 TJ

            M_\text{s} Caracas earthquake (Venezuela), 1967


















               Irpinia earthquake (Italy), 1980

               M_\text{w} Eureka earthquake (California, USA), 2010

               Zumpango del Rio earthquake (Guerrero, Mexico), 2011[27]


            120 kilotons

            500 TJ

            M_\text{w} San Fernando earthquake (California, USA), 1971


            170 kilotons

            710 TJ

            M_\text{w} Northridge earthquake (California, USA), 1994


            240 kilotons

            1.0 PJ

            M_\text{w} Nisqually earthquake (Anderson Island, WA, USA), 2001


















               M_\text{w} Great Hanshin earthquake (Kobe, Japan), 1995

               Gisborne earthquake (Gisborne, NZ), 2007


            340 kilotons

            1.4 PJ

            M_\text{w} San Francisco Bay Area earthquake (California, USA), 1989


















               M_\text{w} Pichilemu earthquake (Chile), 2010

               M_\text{w} Sikkim earthquake (Nepal-India Border), 2011


            480 kilotons

            2.0 PJ

            M_\text{w} Java earthquake (Indonesia), 2009


















               M_\text{w} Haiti earthquake, 2010


            680 kilotons

            2.8 PJ

            M_\text{w} Messina earthquake (Italy), 1908


















               M_\text{w} San Juan earthquake (Argentina), 1944

               M_\text{w} Canterbury earthquake (New Zealand), 2010

               M_\text{w} Van earthquake (Turkey), 2011


            950 kilotons

            4.0 PJ

            Vrancea earthquake (Romania), 1977


















               M_\text{w} Azores Islands Earthquake (Portugal), 1980

               M_\text{w} Baja California earthquake (Mexico), 2010


            2.7 megatons

            11 PJ

            M_\text{w} Kashmir earthquake (Pakistan), 2005


















               M_\text{w} Antofagasta earthquake (Chile), 2007


            3.8 megatons

            16 PJ

            M_\text{w} Nicoya earthquake (Costa Rica), 2012


















               M_\text{w} Oaxaca earthquake (Mexico), 2012

               M_\text{w} Gujarat earthquake (India), 2001

               M_\text{w} ?zmit earthquake (Turkey), 1999

               M_\text{w} Jiji earthquake (Taiwan), 1999


            5.4 megatons

            22 PJ

            M_\text{w} Sumatra earthquake (Indonesia), 2010


















               M_\text{w} Haida Gwaii earthquake (Canada), 2012


            7.6 megatons

            32 PJ

            M_\text{w} Tangshan earthquake (China), 1976


















               M_\text{s} Hawke's Bay earthquake (New Zealand), 1931

               M_\text{s} Luzon earthquake (Philippines), 1990

               M_\text{w} Gorkha earthquake (Nepal), 2015[28]


            10.7 megatons

            45 PJ

            Tunguska event

            M_\text{w} 1802 Vrancea earthquake


















               M_\text{w} Great Kanto earthquake (Japan), 1923


            15 megatons

            63 PJ

            M_\text{s} Mino-Owari earthquake (Japan), 1891


















               San Juan earthquake (Argentina), 1894

               San Francisco earthquake (California, USA), 1906

               M_\text{s} Queen Charlotte Islands earthquake (B.C., Canada), 1949

               M_\text{w} Chincha Alta earthquake (Peru), 2007

               M_\text{s} Sichuan earthquake (China), 2008

               Kangra earthquake, 1905


            21 megatons

            89 PJ

            México City earthquake (Mexico), 1985


















               Guam earthquake, August 8, 1993[29]


            50 megatons

            210 PJ

            Tsar Bomba—Largest thermonuclear weapon ever tested. Most of the energy was dissipated in the atmosphere. The seismic shock was estimated at 5.0–5.2[30]


            85 megatons

            360 PJ

            M_\text{w} Sumatra earthquake (Indonesia), 2007


            120 megatons

            500 PJ

            M_\text{w} Sumatra earthquake (Indonesia), 2012


            170 megatons

            710 PJ

            M_\text{w} Sumatra earthquake (Indonesia), 2005


            200 megatons

            840 PJ

            Krakatoa 1883


            240 megatons

            1.0 EJ

            M_\text{w} Chile earthquake, 2010


            480 megatons

            2.0 EJ

            M_\text{w} Lisbon earthquake (Portugal), All Saints Day, 1755

            M_\text{w} The Great East Japan earthquake, March 2011


            800 megatons

            3.3 EJ

            Toba eruption 75,000 years ago; among the largest known volcanic events.[31]


            950 megatons

            4.0 EJ

            M_\text{w} Anchorage earthquake (Alaska, USA), 1964

            M_\text{w} Sumatra-Andaman earthquake and tsunami (Indonesia), 2004

            M_\text{w} Cascadia earthquake (Pacific Northwest, USA), 1700


            2.7 gigatons

            11 EJ

            M_\text{w} Valdivia earthquake (Chile), 1960


            100 teratons

            420 ZJ

            Yucatán Peninsula impact (creating Chicxulub crater) 65 Ma ago (108 megatons; over 4×1029 ergs = 400 ZJ).[32][33][34][35][36]


            3.1×1029 metric tons

            1.3×1039 J

            Starquake detected on December 27, 2004 from the ultracompact stellar corpse (magnetar) SGR 1806-20. The quake, which occurred 50,000 light years from Earth, released gamma rays equivalent to 1036 kW in intensity. Had it occurred within a distance of 10 light years from Earth, the quake would have possibly triggered a mass extinction.[37]

   Now, this is mostly just the biggies.  However, in aggregate you probably get more energy released by the total number of 4-6 Intensity Quakes you get each year than the big ones.  Here is the chart for the 4+ Quakes:


   The 5+ and 6+ charts are similar, all showing a peak of activity around 2011-2012.  All this energy had to go somewhere, where did it go?

   Now look at the chart for Ocean Heat Content:

   Global Ocean Heat Content 1955-present 0-2000 m

   When does ocean Heat Content start rising?  1992, EXACTLY the year you start to see increasing total energy released by Earthquakes!  THAT friends is a SMOKING GUN.

   What else occurred at the SAME Time?  Ocean Acidity levels started rising and the pH dropping (lower pH is Higher Acidity, it's an inverse scale)

   As you can see, it was in the late 1980s to early 1990s that Ocean pH began its real roller coaster ride downward below all previous measured minimums going back to 1700.  Getting an up to date number for 2015 has so far proved difficult, but I suspect it is well below 7.9 now.

   Now, where does Ocean Acidity come from?  Well, definitely CO2 contributes here, dissolving in water to form the Bicarbonate Ion, HCO3-. however, Sulfur also adds to ocean acidity, forming the Sulfate Ions.

      Sulfur is found in oxidation states ranging from +6 in SO42− to -2 in sulfides. Thus elemental sulfur can either give or receive electrons depending on its environment. Minerals such as pyrite (FeS2) comprise the original pool of sulfur on earth. Owing to the sulfur cycle, the amount of mobile sulfur has been continuously increasing through volcanic activity as well as weathering of the crust in an oxygenated atmosphere.[1] Earth's main sulfur sink is the oceans as SO2, where it is the major oxidizing agent.[2]

   How much sulfur does a typical Volcano Eject and what are its effects on the environment?

      Image showing a map of the world.Volcanoes that release large amounts of sulfur compounds like sulfur oxide or sulfur dioxide affect the climate more strongly than those that eject just dust. The sulfur compounds are gases that rise easily into the stratosphere. Once there, they combine with the (limited) water available to form a haze of tiny droplets of sulfuric acid. These tiny droplets are very light in color and reflect a great deal of sunlight for their size. Although the droplets eventually grow large enough to fall to the earth, the stratosphere is so dry that it takes time, months or even years to happen. Consequently, reflective hazes of sulfur droplets can cause significant cooling of the earth for as long as two years after a major sulfur-bearing eruption. Sulfur hazes are believed to have been the primary cause of the global cooling that occurred after the Pinatubo and Tambora eruptions. For many months a satellite tracked the sulfur cloud produced by Pinatubo. The image shows the cloud about three months after the eruption. It is already a continuous band of haze encircling the entire globe. You can learn more about the cooling effects of sulfur hazes by through the sulfur dioxide plume from the Llaima Volcano, which erupted on New Year's Day in 2008.

   What occurs if the eruption is not into the atmosphere, but directly into the ocean from subsea geotectonic activity?

      Submarine volcanoes are underwater vents or fissures in the Earth's surface from which magma can erupt. They are estimated to account for 75% of annual magma output. The vast majority are located near areas of tectonic plate movement, known as ocean ridges. Although most are located in the depths of seas and oceans, some also exist in shallow water, which can spew material into the air during an eruption. Hydrothermal vents, sites of abundant biological activity, are commonly found near submarine volcanoes.

   With 75% of the activity coming beneath the ocean (which only makes sense since 75% of the surface of the earth is under water), even a slight increase in the amount of sulfur being released can significantly alter the Sulfur Cycle.

   Notice that nowhere in this Sulfur Cycle is the quantity of Sulfur released through volcanic activity each year accounted for.  I doubt anyone knows how large this quantity is, or how it changes from year to year or over geologic time either.  So it is very difficult to quantify in order to measure its total effect on the ocean chemistry.  Regardless of that, if you accept the hypothesis made by the study authors that geological activity was the cause of Dinosaur Extinction, it is reasonable to suppose this quantity can at times be very significant.  Is this one of those times?

   What about the Volcanoes?  Are they really more frequent or just reported better?  Here's a chart going back to 1875 from the Smithsonian Institute:

   Now, maybe you can argue Volcanic Eruptions are better reported now than in 1875,  but that doesn't explain why you see the dropoff in eruptions from 1980-85 and the subsequent higher peak after that.

   Besides that, you have this chart with recent numbers in the years 2000-2014

   What explains the vast increase between 2007 & 2009?  I don't think reporting or instrumentation changed that much over those 2 years.

   All of this evidence points to some level of Geotectonic contribution to the changing climate, however nobody in the mainstream of Climate Science will even consider this as it applies to the present day situation, they are too invested in the theory that Climate Change is entirely Anthropogenic and the result of Carbon Emissions from Fossil Fuels since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution.   While it seems likely this is a contributing factor, I don't see how you can dismiss the rest of the evidence that there is a Geotectonic component to this as well.

   The whole bizness led up to the Geotectonic Ocean Heat Transfer Theory, which you can read up on here on the Diner Blog if you are so inclined.

   Despite the fact nobody will apply this reasoning to the current situation, in recent months a new theory about the Extinction of the Dinosaurs at the end of the PETM came not from the preciously accepted Asteroid Impact Theory, but in fact from increasing Vulcanism.  Here are Parts 1 & 2 from John Mason on Skeptical Science:


      The cause of the greatest mass-extinctions of all? Pollution (Part 1)


      Posted on 19 March 2015 by John Mason


      Part One: Large Igneous Provinces and their global effects




      A mass extinction is an event in the fossil record, a fossilised disaster if you like, in which a massive, globally widespread and geologically rapid loss of species occurred from numerous environments. The “Big five” extinctions of the Phanerozoic (that time since the beginning of the Cambrian period, 541 million years ago) are those in which, in each instance, over half of known species disappeared from the fossil record.

      How did they happen? The causes of such events, with a truly global reach, have been a well-known bone of contention within the Earth Sciences community over many decades. The popular media likes to portray such things as Hollywood-style disasters, in which everything gets wiped out in an instant. But in the realms of science, things have changed. The critically important development has been the refinement of radiometric dating, allowing us to age-constrain events down to much narrower windows of time. We can now, in some cases, talk about the start and end of an event in terms of tens of thousands (rather than millions) of years.

      Such dating, coupled with the other time-tools of palaeomagnetism and the fossil record, have made it possible to develop a much clearer picture of how mass-extinctions occur. That picture is one of periods of global-scale pollution and environmental stress associated with large perturbations to the carbon cycle, lasting for thousands of years. Such upheavals are related to unusual episodes of volcanic activity with an intensity that is almost impossible to imagine. The geological calling-cards of such events are known as Large Igneous Provinces (LIPs). Bringing environmental and climatic changes at rates similar to the ones we have been creating, they have been repeat-offenders down the geological timeline. This introductory piece examines LIPs in the framework of more familiar volcanic activity: it is the only way to get a handle on their vastness.

      For those readers already familiar with LIPs, you may want to skip this and go straight to Part Two, which covers the biggest extinction of them all, at the end of the Permian period, 252 million years ago (Ma). With more than 90% of all species wiped out, it was the most severe biotic crisis in Phanerozoi

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Offline azozeo

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Re: Extinction & Geotectonics: Of Dinosaurs & Homo Saps
« Reply #1 on: July 12, 2015, 03:08:10 PM »
That's a lot of research RE....
Good job. I'll get to it & report back when I'm finished with it.
I know exactly what you mean. Let me tell you why you’re here. You’re here because you know something. What you know you can’t explain, but you feel it. You’ve felt it your entire life, that there’s something wrong with the world.
You don’t know what it is but its there, like a splinter in your mind


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