Norilsk Nickel could produce a powerful extinction in Earth’s history

Norilsk Nickel could produce a powerful extinction in Earth’s history

MOSCOW, 21 Feb — RIA Novosti. The formation of deposits of Nickel on the territory of modern Norilsk, approximately 252 million years ago could cause a powerful extinction in Earth’s history, killing 90% of animals, said in an article published in the journal PNAS.

Scholars in the history of life on Earth, five major mass extinctions of species. The most significant is considered to be “great” Permian extinction, when they disappeared more than 95% of all living creatures inhabiting the planet, including fancy zoroastro, close relatives of the ancestors of mammals, and a number of marine animals.

Riddles Perm

There is evidence that at this time in the atmosphere and oceans were emitted large quantities of carbon dioxide and methane. As a result, the Earth’s climate has changed dramatically, becoming extremely hot and dry. It tells Mungall Emma (Emma Mungall) from the University of Toronto (Canada), scientists are now actively arguing about, where did these greenhouse gases, and how they managed to destroy almost the entire living world of the Paleozoic.

Today scientists believe that these emissions of CO2 and CH4 have been associated with powerful outpourings of magma in Eastern Siberia, which occurred about 252 million years ago within the modern plateau Putorana, and in the vicinity of Norilsk.

The part of geologists, for example, Russian scientists Alexander and Stephan Sobolev of the Institute of Geochemistry and analytical chemistry Russian Academy of Sciences, suggested that their source was the emission of magma formed from the former marine rocks of the crust, rich in organic matter. Other researchers disagree with this hypothesis, considering that the source gas was ecosystem of that time, whose work has changed or was affected by the cataclysm.

Many germs, it tells Mungall capable of metabolizing a variety of substances and extract energy from them is very heterogeneous ways, using those substances which they have at hand. Individual bacteria and archaea, for example, can use the atoms of Nickel and other metals as catalysts for reactions in which the molecules of acetic acid and other organic matter are converted to methane and other hydrocarbons.

Metal cloud

Why is it important? The fact that the formation of the Putorana plateau and other regions of Eastern Siberia led to the birth of the largest deposits of Nickel in the Earth, and the rocks of the time from other regions of the world contain many traces of this metal.

Their discovery, according to the authors, is forcing scientists to think about how could the emissions of Nickel to trigger a huge boom in the growth of bacteria and thereby produce emission of huge quantities of methane into the Earth’s atmosphere.

The problem, as explained Mungall, is that Nickel is extremely bad evaporates and its concentration in volcanic gases is usually minimal. These are the supporters of the “magmatic” hypothesis, stating that Nickel emitted during the Siberian eruptions were not enough to start the process of reproduction of microbes.

The authors found the answer to this question by studying rocks, extracted from deposits of Nickel in Norilsk in the mine “October”. Considering the samples of Nickel ore, the geologists drew attention to the fact that it contained inclusions similar to large drops of liquid, containing a salt of Nickel.

These drops contained a large void, which, as scientists believe, in the past, filled a pair of water enriched with Nickel compounds, chlorine, and sulfur.

As such, the Nickel could easily travel long distances, as it “traveled” is not alone, as three different salts of sulfide Nickel chloride Nickel dichloride Nickel.

According to calculations of scientists, the formation of a large number of such droplets and their release into the air the Earth is supposed to enrich the oceans with enough metal to start the process of reproduction of microbes. Therefore, according to Mungall and her colleagues, “Nickel” hypothesis of the birth of the Great Permian extinction has the right to life and a good explanation of how the emissions of magma were able to almost completely destroy life in just 300 thousand years, a moment in geological terms.