Deep Sea News

Volcanoes Are Evil


During the Cretaceous our mammalian relatives were small and puny. They wandered around and tried not to become a warm snack for the reptiles that ruled the day. Insects began to diversify to eventually become the diverse group we now know and occasionally dip into chocolate. In the seas, rays, sharks, and all the bony fishes began to dominate and replace the way cooler cephalopods. Large marine reptiles still roamed the seas as opposed to just a lake in Scotland. The continents were still relatively close but rock n’ roll, drugs, and women were soon to split them. The Atlantic was a mere young whipper snapper barely a few hundred kilometers big.

Two spectacularly awful events occurred in the ocean. Ocean anoxic event 1 (120mya) and 2 (93 mya). Rather unshockingly, the complete lack of oxygen in the oceans led to major extinctions. But what caused the OAE? New evidence strengthens the link between OAE2 and volcanism (but not Vulcans whose large brains are also known to cause major oxygen depletion).

In one scenario, the intense volcanic discharge likely changed the chemistry of the ocean and atmosphere. This may have provided micronutrients to phytoplankton resulting in ocean wide blooms. All of the sinking and rotting plankton eventually decayed on the ocean floor and stripped oxygen in the process.


Volcanoes disgorged clouds of CO2 to the atmosphere, warming the climate to the extent that Earth’s ocean circulation system ground to a near-halt. Beyond the surface layers, water was no longer turned over and anoxia was the result.

Either way volcanoes are evil and an enemy of our salty friends.

Turgeon, S.C., Creaser, R.A. (2008). Cretaceous oceanic anoxic event 2 triggered by a massive magmatic episode. Nature, 454(7202), 323-326. DOI: 10.1038/nature07076


  1. #1 d m
    July 21, 2008

    100% pure fiction…what a ignorant little fool man is

  2. #2 CR McClain
    July 21, 2008

    Even though I know I will regret this later…exactly what part is “100% Pure Fiction”

  3. #3 kevin z
    July 21, 2008

    Wait, you mean The Core isn’t real??

  4. #4 jj
    July 21, 2008

    “100% pure fiction…what a ignorant little fool man is”

    What a fool this guy is…

  5. #5 Jives
    July 21, 2008

    Don’t you mean Volcanoes are Dr. Evil.

  6. #6 Maria Brumm
    July 21, 2008

    Evil?! Just because your little salty friends can’t be bothered to make a good emergency plan? All species should be prepared for flood basalts, it’s just good sense.

    Why, without volcanoes, none of us would be here! You punk metazoans should show a little respect.

  7. #7 Jim Lemire
    July 21, 2008

    d m: I don’t believe in it anyway.
    CR McClain: What?
    d m: volcanoes.
    CR McClain: Just a conspiracy of geologists, then?

  8. #8 Maria Brumm
    July 21, 2008

    Fake trackback! (Valid as of 9ish Tuesday morning, Eastern)

  9. #9 Ian
    July 25, 2008

    “Even though I know I will regret this later…exactly what part is ‘100% Pure Fiction'”

    Anything spouted by the Bush administration, especially about offshore drilling….

  10. #10 Joseph Brenner
    August 3, 2008

    The reverse of LIVE is EVIL. So ANYTHING that kills is EVIL.

New comments have been disabled.