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BigDon
2012-Jun-28, 10:06 PM
Disburbing similar to what happens to a planet that has developed complex intelligent life?

The three different pulses co-inciding with the unknown species discovering the Industrial Age, .ei the Coal Gap, selective extinctions*, rising CO2 levels

Then the severe ecological break down, massive extinctions and finally

partial recovery by said hypothetical species/race leading to the last pulse as they retook up bad habits their founders got them into trouble with in the first place, having forgotten the previous lessons learned.

but you never see that one listed in the possible reasons. This idea didn't gel hard for me until the triassic kraken thread came up, and then I couldn't sleep because I already had all the clues floating in my head, I just couldn't put them altogether.

I do acknowledge that I have left hemisphere brain damage and an overcompensating right, so please be nice when tearing this idea apart. :)



*Things that are yummy, prevent uncontrolled birth or cure cancer always go first.

Ara Pacis
2012-Jun-28, 10:14 PM
I'm not sure I follow. Are you saying that there was intelligent life on earth similar to humans in the past?

BigDon
2012-Jun-28, 11:22 PM
I'm not sure I follow. Are you saying that there was intelligent life on earth similar to humans in the past?

(Being careful because this is BAUT, and I'm not in Babbling.) I'm not saying that, that would be a jump. I'm saying does the sequence of events look that way to anybody else? Especially with the consumption of the vast australian/antartic coal beds in a short amount of geologic time early on, attributed to an inplace fire or an as yet unfound magma intrusion into these coal bearing seams, that are now empty of coal. Then as the coal seams empty either reason, you have all the worst case global warming scenarios happening.That's what got me thinking this way.

PlutonianEmpire
2012-Jun-29, 12:05 AM
This thread seems to resonate with ATM + CT ideas I personally have, but I won't say anything to avoid de-railing the thread and getting it moved to ATM. :o

SkepticJ
2012-Jun-29, 12:06 AM
It seems to me that it is consistent with the evidence, but if a natural fire (or whatever) could account for it, then Occam's razor favors that explanation.

If we find some cobalt or nickel alloy gears in Permian rocks, some enriched uranium, or something else of the sort that couldn't come to be without a technological civilization, then they probably caused it.

BigDon
2012-Jun-29, 10:19 PM
But even the papers that mention unprecidentedly massive underground coal fires as a possible explanation, they don't have any direct evidence for that either.

SkepticJ
2012-Jun-29, 10:49 PM
But even the papers that mention unprecidentedly massive underground coal fires as a possible explanation, they don't have any direct evidence for that either.

Done a little but of reading, and to my layman's eyes the Coal Gap wasn't necessarily caused by coal that once existed and now doesn't anymore, but the coal didn't form in the first place because its starter material--peat--wasn't growing well at the time because of environmental factors.

The Permian die off was actually probably caused by multiple factors, like the Siberian Traps erupting for a million years and methane hydrate melting and dumping massive amounts of methane into the atmosphere. Think carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas? Methane slaps it with a blackjack and robs it blind.

TooMany
2012-Jun-29, 11:18 PM
I don't see any reason to exclude the possibility that novel evolutionary forms (like ourselves and others) can so disturb that balance as to create mass extinctions.

In fact there are at least some biologist that claim we are currently undergoing a mass extinction caused by the ballooning human population.

The irony is that we are smart enough to break things on a massive scale, but not wise enough to fix them. It's a potential boundary that might explain the Fermi Paradox. :)

cjameshuff
2012-Jun-29, 11:33 PM
But even the papers that mention unprecidentedly massive underground coal fires as a possible explanation, they don't have any direct evidence for that either.

But huge underground coal fires do happen. Not as large as this, but why couldn't they be if the conditions were right? We do see signs of large scale volcanism around that time.

We don't, however, have signs of mining activities or any of the equipment an industrial civilization would produce. A lot would have been destroyed, but some would remain...we know about the extinction through its fossil record, after all. Today's civilization would leave fossils of integrated circuits, metallic aluminum, tunnels and roads, etc...buried and distorted, but recognizable. Steel parts may corrode entirely to rust, but there'd be impressions in the surrounding rock of structural beams and mechanical parts. Glass objects would dissolve and crystallize over time, but some would end up in sites that preserve traces of them. Odd materials like silicones and fluoropolymers may well survive. And so on...

profloater
2012-Jun-30, 05:21 PM
the plate tectonics do hide almost all evidence of what goes on on a large scale so it would not be impossible for life to have gone through cycles before this one and for all evidence to have melted. If that were to happen with a few survivors the previous knowledge would get lost I guess. When you look at archeology it is amazing how fast evidence is covered by the layers and how fast vegetation overtakes abandoned places. We take humans back now to no more than a hundred thousand years or so, a small proportion of 4 billion or so! Is that your worry?

publiusr
2012-Jun-30, 05:39 PM
Flood Basalt volcanism is no joke http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flood_basalt
"The surface covered by one eruption can vary from around 200,000 kmē (Karoo) to 1,500,000 kmē (Siberian Traps). The thickness can vary from 2000 metres (Deccan Traps) to 12,000 m" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siberian_Traps

The closest we ever came to even a taste of that was Laki in 1783--and that was bad enough, for it "killed over 50% of Iceland's livestock population, leading to a famine that killed approximately 25% of the island's human population...The Laki eruption and its aftermath caused a drop in global temperatures, as sulfur dioxide was spewed into the Northern Hemisphere. This caused crop failures in Europe and may have caused droughts in India. The eruption has been estimated to have killed over six million people globally,[5] making the eruption the deadliest in historical times."

What I want to know is this. Does Earth have one more shot at flood basalt--and would a pre-eruption rise in CO2 be masked by AGW?

cjameshuff
2012-Jun-30, 06:06 PM
the plate tectonics do hide almost all evidence of what goes on on a large scale so it would not be impossible for life to have gone through cycles before this one and for all evidence to have melted. If that were to happen with a few survivors the previous knowledge would get lost I guess. When you look at archeology it is amazing how fast evidence is covered by the layers and how fast vegetation overtakes abandoned places. We take humans back now to no more than a hundred thousand years or so, a small proportion of 4 billion or so! Is that your worry?

Again, we have a fossil record. This is how we know about those extinctions in the first place. Banded iron deposits produced when primitive algae were first producing an oxygen atmosphere over 2 billion years ago are in fact a major source of iron ore today. Cratonic rocks can be as old as 4 billion years. The planet's crust has not been completely recycled in the timeframe under consideration, and an industrial civilization large enough to exhaust major coal deposits would produce very large numbers of artifacts that would fossilize more readily than any tooth, bone, or shell.

Ara Pacis
2012-Jun-30, 09:27 PM
the plate tectonics do hide almost all evidence of what goes on on a large scale so it would not be impossible for life to have gone through cycles before this one and for all evidence to have melted. If that were to happen with a few survivors the previous knowledge would get lost I guess. When you look at archeology it is amazing how fast evidence is covered by the layers and how fast vegetation overtakes abandoned places. We take humans back now to no more than a hundred thousand years or so, a small proportion of 4 billion or so! Is that your worry?Plate tectonics seems to mostly recycle ocean crust, not continental crust. Wouldn't we expect to find artifacts in continental strata?

Van Rijn
2012-Jun-30, 10:24 PM
BD, I've seen the technological species idea used a few times in science fiction stories about the end of the Dinosaurs. The TV show with the same name did that too. Haven't seen a similar version for the Permian, probably because it's not as well known with the general public.

Anyway, this is what worries me, at least when it comes to long term considerations:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tycho_%28crater%29

This is a 50 mile diameter crater on the moon from the impact about a hundred million years ago. That had to be a huge impactor. If something similar hit the Earth, well, it would be on the level of the Permian at least.

There are things that will cause extinction events. One possibility is that complex ecosystems like ours might be rare not because life is rare, but because on most worlds it gets knocked back too often.

Robert Tulip
2012-Jun-30, 11:52 PM
Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Permian%E2%80%93Triassic_extinction_event) says


The Permian–Triassic (P–Tr) extinction event, informally known as the Great Dying,[2] was an extinction event that occurred 252.28 Ma (million years) ago,[3] forming the boundary between the Permian and Triassic geologic periods, as well as the Paleozoic and Mesozoic eras. It was the Earth's most severe known extinction event, with up to 96% of all marine species[4] and 70% of terrestrial vertebrate species becoming extinct.[5] It is the only known mass extinction of insects.[6][7] Some 57% of all families and 83% of all genera became extinct. Because so much biodiversity was lost, the recovery of life on Earth took significantly longer than after any other extinction event,[4] possibly up to 10 million years.[8] This event has been described as the "mother of all mass extinctions."[9]

Researchers have variously suggested that there were from one to three distinct pulses, or phases, of extinction.[5][10][11][12] There are several proposed mechanisms for the extinctions; the earlier phase was likely due to gradual environmental change, while the latter phase has been argued to be due to a catastrophic event. Suggested mechanisms for the latter include large or multiple bolide impact events, increased volcanism, coal/gas fires and explosions from the Siberian Traps,[13] and sudden release of methane clathrate from the sea floor; gradual changes include sea-level change, anoxia, increasing aridity, and a shift in ocean circulation driven by climate change.[14]

None of that provides a basis to suspect the evolution of an intelligent species that fouled its own nest as is happening now with humans. The Permian evolutionary record does not show the emergence of precursor species for technology in the way primates provided a platform for human evolution.

The Industrial Revolution will be a thin line in the rocks like the iridium band from the dinosaur extinction unless humans work out a sustainable global way to live.

Romanus
2012-Jul-01, 01:42 AM
For my part: not really. One of the reasons the "Great Dying" remains such a thorny issue is the record across the boundary is very poor, which means we have trouble even quantifying what it was like just before it as after.

BigDon
2012-Jul-01, 06:49 PM
Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Permian%E2%80%93Triassic_extinction_event) says


None of that provides a basis to suspect the evolution of an intelligent species that fouled its own nest as is happening now with humans. The Permian evolutionary record does not show the emergence of precursor species for technology in the way primates provided a platform for human evolution.

The Industrial Revolution will be a thin line in the rocks like the iridium band from the dinosaur extinction unless humans work out a sustainable global way to live.

The wiki article on the subject says something different every month or so. :)

I didn't want to say I've read other papers in Nature and other on-line pubs that detailed the sequence of events, only because I don't have the links. ( *I* know I'm honest, but you guys don't.) But things like the clathrates melting didn't happen until the disaster was already well under way. ei an effect more than a cause. Like a propane tank beside your house exploding because your house was already on fire. Sure, it contributes big time to the fire, but the house was already burning down.

aquitaine
2012-Jul-02, 03:47 PM
The wiki article on the subject says something different every month or so. :)

I didn't want to say I've read other papers in Nature and other on-line pubs that detailed the sequence of events, only because I don't have the links. ( *I* know I'm honest, but you guys don't.) But things like the clathrates melting didn't happen until the disaster was already well under way. ei an effect more than a cause. Like a propane tank beside your house exploding because your house was already on fire. Sure, it contributes big time to the fire, but the house was already burning down.



Before we start panicing let's consider a couple of things. Firstly the average global temperature at that time was greater than 25 C, far and away much hotter than it is today and much hotter than even our worst end of century projections. Secondly it wasn't just global warming that was going on, there was also the usual plate drift which changes things too.

BigDon
2012-Jul-03, 02:41 PM
Sorry, I hadn't realized I was making inciteful to panic statements.

Oh, and I have read a bit on flood basalt vulcanism. Both the Siberian and Deccan episodes especially. The Deccan eruptions were pumping the equivalent of a Mount St. Helens blast into the atmosphere weekly on a continous basis for a million years.

That hardly seems Earth-like. Definately bad for your dinosaurs.