New findings support the theory that a massive volcanic event tore apart Pangea and dramatically changed Earth's climate, ushering in the biggest biological shift in the planet's history.

. . . There were several pulses that spewed millions of cubic miles of lava, each separated by tens of thousands of years, Blackburn said. The first of them was probably big enough to cause the extinction, and subsequent ones occurred as life began to recover and dinosaurs exploited the territory left empty by the mass die-off.

For now, the data "strongly imply a causal relationship" between the eruption that broke up Pangea and the extinction that occurred around the same time, the researchers concluded. How the die-off happened "remains unclear," they wrote, though they offer support for a massive climatic shift brought on by volcanoes. . . .

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