Scientific evidence has shown that when volcanic eruptions occur, they release carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gasses in significant amounts.
For many years, experts have held on to the belief that the resulting increase in levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide is primarily responsible for global warming and many mass extinction events. This is because significant carbon dioxide pollution due to eruptions from supervolcanoes can overwhelm the environment by increasing temperatures and making the oceans more acidic. However, new findings have shown that humans may be the major culprits afterall.
According to Our World in Data, scientists are aware of five such devastating mass extinctions that have occurred on Earth. And research reveals that some of these cases were so catastrophic that they eliminated almost all species.
Recently, a study aimed at achieving a better understanding of the link between prehistoric volcanic eruptions and mass extinction events was carried out by researchers at Curtin University’s School of Earth and Planetary Sciences in Western Australia. The scientists based their research on the Kerguelen eruptions that began about 130 million years back and did not result in a mass extinction event.
Sadly, they arrived at the conclusion that humans are emitting carbon dioxide at an unbelievable rate 200 times faster than the super-eruptions that have historically caused some of the planet’s most catastrophic mass extinctions. This finding is very troubling as experts believe that the Earth is currently in its sixth phase of mass extinction.
Never in the history of the world have we recorded the high atmospheric carbon dioxide levels that we’re dealing with today. According to reports, we are about to witness an average increase in the global temperature to the tune of 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit.
More than just volcanic eruptions, human activities like the burning of gas, coal, oil, garbage, wood, and other organic materials are the primary culprits in increased carbon dioxide pollution. The Earth will eventually cease to exist if we continue this pattern.
According to Dr. Qiang Jiang, the lead researcher, “Archives from the past clearly show that slowing down carbon dioxide emissions is crucial to mitigate Earth’s climate change and avoid potentially disastrous consequences that are projected based on current human-induced emissions.” This can only be achieved when we all come together to make our planet safer by adopting sustainable practices.
Even the littlest changes matter in our quest to achieve a healthy environment. For example, ordinary citizens will do well by opting for solar and other renewable energy sources as alternatives to dirty energy like coal and petroleum. The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) has also encouraged everyone to recycle old items instead of trashing them, invest in energy-efficient appliances, use LED light bulbs, etc.
According to the NRDC, it would be able to save up to 1.2 billion gallons of polluting gas annually if every US driver properly inflated their car tires. Citizens can also do well by pressuring the relevant government authorities to take effective climate change actions.