Dinosaurs Choked on Ozone
At the start, it seems hard to make a potent mass murderer out of a gas that is just three little oxygen atoms bounds together. And we all know about the ultraviolet-shielding effect of the ozone layer high in the stratosphere. Very helpful for life, that is.
But problems start when you bring O3 down near the surface. Mix together a soup of hydrocarbons, nitrogen oxides, and sunlight (the first two make up your basic car exhaust) and presto, we can find ourselves swimming in the stuff, especially in urban areas. No one knows what safe levels are, but medical studies suggest that lung tissue gets inflamed and damaged quickly at or around 100 parts per billion of O3.
A new study in the journal Paleogeography, Paleoclimatology, Paleoecology puts forth the idea that the Chicxulub impact, long blamed for the extinction of the dinosaurs at the end of the Cretaceous era 65 million years ago, could have done them in by flinging huge amounts of ozone precursor chemicals -- nitrogen oxides, methane, and other hydrocarbons -- into the air.
According to the researchers' simulation, the impact could have produced enough ozone to raise concentrations in the atmosphere to over 1,000 parts per billion (or 1 part per million), about 10 times the dangerous level for people).
comments powered by Disqus
- Zara removes striped pyjamas with yellow star following online outrage
- According To U.S. Big Data, We Won The Vietnam War
- Nearly Every Founding Fathers’ Quote Shared By A Likely Future Congressman Is Fake
- Fareed Zakaria Appears to Have Plagiarized Entire Paragraphs in One of His Books
- Medal of Honor for a Civil War Hero 150 Years in the Grave
- Cornel West and the Insular World of the Obama-Hating Left
- Fox to turn Doris Kearns Goodwin’s “No Ordinary Time” into a 10 hour series on FDR and Eleanor
- Martin Kramer says Columbia University professors claim Israelis are the new Nazis
- Denying Historians: China’s Archives Increasingly Off-Bounds
- Is this the way to teach history? Mark Carnes thinks so.