More news from the Permian

In my first post on this blog, I discussed one of the possible connections between the “Anthropocene Warming Event”,  and the Permian-Triassic extinction, also known as “The Great Dying”.  Basically, one hypothesis about the extinction event, and its pattern – oceanic extinction preceding terrestrial extinction – is that a sharp decline in oceanic dissolved oxygen led to a proliferation of anaerobic bacteria, which generated hydrogen sulfide, which filled the oceans with poison, and eventually began to leak out of the water onto the land as a toxic gas.

Now another piece of that event’s puzzle has come up, and that is mercury. In a study published in the journal Geology, Sanei, Grasby, and Beauchamp used sedimentary analysis to look at oceanic mercury content from that time period, and found that there was a dramatic increase in mercury levels. The increase in mercury was caused by a high amount of volcanic activity (thirty times the present-day levels, according to the authors), as well as the burning of massive coal seams ignited by the volcanism.

This caused a mercury buildup that overwhelmed the systems that normally absorb the metal, adding to the ocean’s toxicity.

The authors specify that the present levels are far below the ones they measured from the Permian-Triassic boundary era, but Beauchamp added, “We are adding to the levels through industrial emissions. This is a warning for us here on Earth today.” (more and a video below the fold)

At this point it is widely known that fish contain levels of mercury which can be dangerous to certain people, specifically pregnant women and their developing children, and those levels have been rising.

It’s not certain where the bulk of the increase is coming from, but what is certain is that by burning coal, we are releasing tons of the stuff every year.

I like videos, so here’s one about mercury, both its properties, and its dangers.

Mercury in the ocean, bringing us the finest in food that makes you insane.

It seems, more and more, that we are conducting a reenactment of the worst mass extinction in the history of life on this planet.

Not to belabor the point, but melting ice caps and flooded cities are not alarmist predictions. They’re not even close.


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