Joined: 17 Dec 2001
Posts: 9855 | TRs
Location: Lyle, WA
|Pretty wild, I always wonder about the impact of gigantic flood basalt episodes, like the Deccan and Siberian Traps, and #3, the Columbia basin region...
|The research, which was funded by the National Science Foundation, appears in Geology, the top journal in the field. Starting 16.5 million years ago, they say, vents in southeast Washington and northeast Oregon put out a series of flows that reached nearly to Canada and all the way to the Pacific Ocean. The flows created the Wapshilla Ridge Member of the Grande Ronde Basalt, a kilometer-thick block familiar to travelers in the Columbia Gorge and most of Eastern Washington. The researchers say it is “the largest mapped flood basalt unit on Earth.”
The researchers estimate that, over tens of thousands of years, the floods put out between 242 and 305 billion tons of sulfur dioxide. That’s more than 4,000 times the output of the 1815 Mount Tambora eruption in present-day Indonesia. That eruption blanketed the Earth in an aerosol veil, creating the “Year Without A Summer” and food shortages across the northern hemisphere.
The volume of gas emitted from the Wapshilla Ridge lavas, said the researchers, “is equivalent to a Tambora eruption every day for 11 to 16 years.”
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