A series of monumental volcanic eruptions in India may have killed the dinosaurs 65 million years ago, not a meteor impact in the Gulf of Mexico. The eruptions, which created the gigantic Deccan Traps lava beds of India, are now the prime suspect in the most famous and persistent paleontological murder mystery, say scientists who have conducted a slew of new investigations honing down eruption timing.
"It's the first time we can directly link the main phase of the Deccan Traps to the mass extinction," said Princeton University paleontologist Gerta Keller. The main phase of the Deccan eruptions spewed 80 percent of the lava which spread out for hundreds of miles.
It is calculated to have released ten times more climate altering gases into the atmosphere than the nearly concurrent Chicxulub meteor impact, according to volcanologist Vincent Courtillot from the Physique du Globe de Paris.
The new part is the dating which seems to coincide with both the initial extinctions and the long recovery period.