One of the largest mass extinctions on Earth caused by sea level rise in an eerie echo today

The Devonian is also known as the Age of Pisces. Here we see the fish Darkosteus Hunting eurypterids (sea scorpions), which in turn would feed on the smaller trilobites. (Image credit: Tante_Spray via Getty Images)

A lack of oxygen and rising levels of hydrogen sulfide in the oceans more than 350 million years ago could have been responsible for one of the most significant mass extinctions on Earth, a new study suggests. The changes were likely caused by sea level rise and bear some chilling parallels to today’s conditions.

Researchers examined samples of black shale from the Bakken Formation, a 200,000 square-mile (518,000-square-kilometer) region partially laid down during the Late Devonian and encompassing portions of North Dakota and Canada and one of the largest contiguous deposits of natural gas and oil (opens in new tab) in the United States. The team found evidence that Earth experienced periods of oxygen starvation and hydrogen sulfide expansion that likely contributed to the large-scale extinction events that killed Earth during the Devonian Period (419.2 and 358.9 million years ago), or the “Age of Fish” devastated.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *