Indian’s geologically famous Deccan Traps are a large igneous province (LIP).  They were formed when a supermassive volcano erupted, spreading lava over hundreds of thousands of square feet.  The explosion released a huge amount of gasses, toxic to life, and altered the temperature of the planet, helping in part to kill off the dinosaurs.

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The Deccan Traps, for all their qualities, are not unique.  The leftovers of similar LIPs, often created during global-altering events, exist from the Siberian north to the flats of Australia.  In March, released a brand new map of the all the known LIPs, which included some previously unknown locations.

The make the map, Richard Ernst, a Geologist at Carlton University, profiled the characteristics of LIPs – including large fractures in the Earth’s crust.  He then dated rock samples that colleagues had gathers from the sites around the world.

“My lesson form this is that the Earth can go through dramatic changes…The planet doesn’t particularly care about the biology on it”

There’s more stories from 2017.  Check out the Best of 2017 series here

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