UPDATE: I wonder if an Extinction Level Event would please, please, hit The View: It seems they think earthquakes are caused by Global Warming.
Dear Readers: In the spirit of Halloween, I am going to post information that I have been accumulating on Extinction Level Events (ELEs) through geologic history. I am also going to, in the spirit of the season, tie this theme to current events.
1) Snowball Earth: Between 750 and 580 million years ago, the earth became completed encased in glaciers — oceans included. Speculation is that this icing was caused by a lowering of atmospheric greenhouse gases to near-present levels through tectonically-mediated rock weathering, when the Sun was considerably dimmer than present. This glaciation wiped out the bulk of ancient life, leaving behind two groups of microbes from which all life is now descended. More information can be obtained from the Snowball Earth website (click HERE).
2) The Permian Extinction: This is recognized to be the most devastating extinction event, in terms of the death of complex life — 95% of all species were extinguished during this period. It occurred 250 million years ago. It is thought that a massive volcanic event in Siberia (essentially a bulge of molten material, instead of a mere hot spot) lead to a 5 degree C rise in temperatures. This temperature increase triggered the release of methane gas from its oceanic methane-hydrate form, and as methane is a “greenhouse gas”, its substantial enhanced concentration raised temperatures 5 degrees further. The toxic volcanic emissions and heating wiped out land-based lifeforms and the methane release then triggered the marine die-off; then, finally, the additional temperature increase contributed to the extinction of many remaining species.
3) The K-T Extinction: This is the famous “Dinosaur Killer” asteroid impact, now well accepted as the reason the giant creatures became extinct. Almost all the large vertebrates on Earth suddenly became extinct about 65 million years ago. At the same time, most plankton and many tropical invertebrates, especially reef-dwellers, became extinct, and many land plants were severely affected. Geologic data shows that the asteroiod struck at near Chicxulub, Mexico. The original paper proposing this theory can be found by clicking HERE (MUT Note — I had the pleasure of discussing the chemistry behind this paper during a gradute school colloquium in the late 80’s).
4) North American Mammal Extinction: It is now being speculated that a smaller-scale asteriod/comet impact around Ohio approximately 13,000 years ago lead to regional environmental changes that killed off mammoths and other larger mammals that were present in vast numbers on this continent.
While it is comforting to realize that humanity does not have quite the dramatic impact on the Earth attributed to extreme environmental activists, it is also humbling. On October 8th, the Earth had a near miss with an asteroid — a 10-meter object exploded over Indonesia (as if that region didn’t have enough problems with the geology). The New Scientist report can be found by clicking HERE; a synopsis is below:
On 8 October an asteroid detonated high in the atmosphere above South Sulawesi, Indonesia, releasing about as much energy as 50,000 tons of TNT, according to a NASA estimate released on Friday. That’s about three times more powerful than the atomic bomb that leveled Hiroshima, making it one of the largest asteroid explosions ever observed.
However, the blast caused no damage on the ground because of the high altitude, 15 to 20 kilometres above Earth’s surface, says astronomer Peter Brown of the University of Western Ontario (UWO), Canada.
To put it in perspective:
DESIRED EXTINCTION LEVEL EVENTS RELATED TO THE US CONGRESS:
The Southern California Tax Revolt Coalition is encouraging citizens opposed to the gargantuan government intrusion associated with the current healthcare reform proposals contact the following representatives:
Mark Begich-AK- ph 202-224-3004,
Blanche L. Lincoln -AR-ph -202-224-4843, email(http://www.facebook.com/l/24212;lincoln.senate.gov/contact/email.cfm)
Mark Pryor-AR ph 202-224-2353
Joseph Lieberman- CT-202-224-4041
Thomas Carper-DE ph 202-224-2441
Bill Nelson- FL- ph 202-224-5274
Even Bayh-IN 202-224-5623
Mary Landrieu- LA ph 202-224-5824
Susan Collins -( R ) ME-ph 202-224-2523
Olympia Snowe-( R ) ME – ph 202-224-5344
John Tester-MT ph -202-224-2644
Ben Nelson-NE- ph 202-224-6551
Ron Wyden-OR 202-224-5244
Robert Byrd-WV- 202-224-3954
Mark Warner- VA- 202- 224-2023
Bob Bennett- UT-Phone: (202) 224-5444,
Joe Lieberman-CT-(202) 224-4041, Fax(202) 224-9750
And though he proposed an atrocious healthcare bill, Sen. Max Baucus has reservations about Cap-and-Trade. Our group is working actively to make the California version of Cap-and-Trade (AB32) extinct, by promoting AB 118 (click HERE for details). Chris Reed has a review well worth reading — on how the elite media ignored the critique of the state’s legislation (especially on the magnitude of its economic impact): Harvard expert assumed media would take AB 32 critique seriously. Not this media.