Could Super-Volcano Eruptions Lead To World’s End?

New research indicates catastrophic eruptions of super-volcanoes, could make thermonuclear war or global warming seem trivial, spewing untold tons of ash into the atmosphere to block sunlight. The result would be many years of frigid temperatures, wiping out millions of species.

A super-volcano that erupted 250 million years ago is now believed to have created the greatest mass extinction the world has ever seen, wiping out up to 95 percent of all plant and animal species. Some renegade scientists believe it was a volcano, not an asteroid, that killed off the dinosaurs 65 million years ago.

A new study by geophysicists from Vanderbilt, along with colleagues at the University of Chicago and elsewhere, documents several lines of research showing that the trigger could be pulled quickly, possibly within a few hundred years. Guilherme Gualda and his team studied deposits in the Long Valley Caldera in northeastern California, where a violent eruption blew 150 cubic miles of molten rock into the atmosphere, blanketing much of North America with hot ash and dropping the earth’s surface more than a mile as it sank into the area once occupied by the magma.


A couple of decades ago, trees began dying on nearby Mammoth Mountain from large amounts of carbon dioxide seeping from the magma, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. Today, the caldera seems to be quieting down, despite several recent bursts of seismic events, but it is probably the most closely watched volcano on the planet.

Meanwhile, Scientists at Oregon State University have been focusing their attention on Yellowstone National Park, where an eruption a couple of million years ago is believed to have been 2,000 times larger than Mount St. Helens. Super-volcanoes cannot be ignored, and now it seems they can pull the trigger much more quickly than anyone had thought. Cheers.

Do you believe that super-volcanoes could actually lead to the end of the world? Share your thoughts with us!

Source: Yahoo News

Image: Saraar Media

Global Biodiversity Decreased By 30 Percent In 40 Years

The world’s biodiversity is down 30 percent since the 1970s, according to a new report, with tropical species taking the biggest hit. And if humanity continues as it has been, the picture could get bleaker.

Humanity is outstripping the Earth’s resources by 50 percent — essentially using the resources of one and a half Earths every year, according to the 2012 Living Planet Report, produced by conservation agency the World Wildlife Fund (WWF). Humanity is essentially in debt to Mother Earth, conservationists find. As of 2008, the most recent year for which data is available, humans were outstripping Earth’s biocapacity by 50 percent. Biocapacity is the amount of renewable resources, land, and waste absorption (such as sinks for carbon dioxide) the Earth can provide. In other words, it takes the planet 1.5 years to restore what humanity burns through in a year.


All of this resource use is taking a toll. The Living Planet report also tracks biodiversity and species populations across the globe. This year’s report details a startling loss of biodiversity around the globe: A loss of 30 percent of biodiversity on average, meaning a major decline in the number of different species of plants, animals and other organisms.

Many of the group’s proposed solutions to humanity’s out-of-control resource use center around Rio+20, the upcoming United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development set for June 20, 2012. The meeting is designed to help create pathways for sustainable development in the future, said Kate Newman, WWF’s managing director of public sector initiatives.

“As we’re approaching a planet with 9 billion people on it, we need to find a global solution,” Loucks said. “The challenge for us is this is a long-term problem. This is the Earth for millennia. We need to move beyond the election cycle, beyond the quarterly report cycle.”

Are governments doing enough to address the issue of declining biodiversity? Tell us what you think!

Source: Yahoo News

Image: CSEC