Flood basalts and mass extinctions – ancient hyperthermals as analogs for anthropogenic climate change.
Oceanic Anoxic Event (OAE) and mass extinctions are considered to be hyperthermals – usually associated with flood basalt eruptions. Phases of rapid global warming, known collectively as hyperthermals.
Flood basalts are a subset of large igneous provinces (LIPs), the terms flood basalt and LIP are often used interchangeably, although the former should be reserved for the extrusive component of an LIP. Flood basalts are giant volcanic eruptions or series of eruptions that cover large stretches of land or the ocean floor with basalt lava.
- Flood basalts, the largest volcanic events in Earth history, triggered dramatic environmental changes on land and in the oceans.
- Rapid volcanic carbon emissions led to ocean warming, acidification, and deoxygenation that often caused widespread animal extinctions.
- Animal physiology played a key role in survival during flood basalt extinctions, with reef builders such as corals being especially vulnerable.
- The rate and duration of volcanic carbon emission controlled the type of environmental disruption and the severity of biological extinction.