Prehistoric Explosions Wiped Out Ocean Life-- And Created Petroleum

Prehistoric Explosions Wiped Out Ocean Life And Created Petroleum

From Site:
Much of Earth's oil reserves can be traced to a single volcanic eruption, scientists say

According to Turgeon and Creaser, lava fountains from the ancient eruption changed oceanic chemistry, triggering widespread extinction of marine life. This happened in a two-step process: First, as the volcano erupted, nutrients were released into the ocean, encouraging the growth of vegetation and the feeding and reproduction of marine organisms. As this overgrowth of new plant and animal populations died off, the decomposing organic matter released clouds of carbon dioxide into the ocean and atmosphere, leading to an anoxic, or oxygen-depleted, environment.
Normally, decaying materials are completely broken down in the ocean, but due to the lack of oxygen, the prehistoric organic matter settled at the bottom of the sea bed and became trapped there, forming the petroleum-rich shale deposits which are important sources of oil today.


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