A New Timeline for Mysterious Permian Extinction
A new study states that it took 60,000 years to kill more than 90 percent of all life on Earth.
252 million years ago, a massive amount of carbon was released into the Earth's atmosphere. Where did it come from? We're not sure. But we do know that the chemistry of the Earth's oceans changed drastically, and up to 96 percent of all marine species became extinct.
These changes to the Earth's biosphere resulted in what is known as the Permian mass extinction. In geologic terms, it all happened quite quickly. In fact, a new study states that it took 60,000 years to kill more than 90 percent of all life on Earth.
This precise finding will help researchers refine the extinction event's "potential trigger mechanisms." According to Seth Burgess, a geochemist at MIT, "having an accurate timeline for the events surrounding the mass extinction and the interval itself is extremely important, because it gives us an idea of how the biosphere responds."
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Here's the science of black holes, from supermassive monsters to ones the size of ping-pong balls.
- There's more than one way to make a black hole, says NASA's Michelle Thaller. They're not always formed from dead stars. For example, there are teeny tiny black holes all around us, the result of high-energy cosmic rays slamming into our atmosphere with enough force to cram matter together so densely that no light can escape.
- CERN is trying to create artificial black holes right now, but don't worry, it's not dangerous. Scientists there are attempting to smash two particles together with such intensity that it creates a black hole that would live for just a millionth of a second.
- Thaller uses a brilliant analogy involving a rubber sheet, a marble, and an elephant to explain why different black holes have varying densities. Watch and learn!
- Bonus fact: If the Earth became a black hole, it would be crushed to the size of a ping-pong ball.
Protected animals are feared to be headed for the black market.
In a breakthrough for nuclear fusion research, scientists at China's Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak (EAST) reactor have produced temperatures necessary for nuclear fusion on Earth.
- The EAST reactor was able to heat hydrogen to temperatures exceeding 100 million degrees Celsius.
- Nuclear fusion could someday provide the planet with a virtually limitless supply of clean energy.
- Still, scientists have many other obstacles to pass before fusion technology becomes a viable energy source.
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