Flood basalt eruptions are a type of large-scale volcanic activity, both in terms of extent and duration, that can occur on land or on the ocean floor. A flood basalt may continue to erupt for tens of thousands - possibly millions - of years and the lava can cover hundreds of thousands of kilometres. Large plateaux and mountains can result from the huge volume of newly surfaced rock. The huge volume of lava is accompanied by a similarly large release of volcanic gases such as sulphur dioxide and carbon dioxide. These can affect climate and cause acid rain, so flood basalts are thought to be a potential cause of mass extinctions.
Loose ends are tied up at last to explain the Permian mass extinction.
The Permian mass extinction was caused by two things: volcanic eruptions and methane release. This programme was first shown in 2002.
Could the Permian flood basalt eruptions have caused mass extinction?
How might Permian flood basalt eruptions have caused mass extinction? The theory of rapid and dramatic temperature change - the initial cooling followed by global warming after a massive CO2 release - is explained. But would it have been enough to wipe out 95% of life on Earth? This programme was first shown in 2002.
Evidence of the world's biggest ever eruption lies in the Siberian Traps.
The Siberian Traps are the remnants of huge volcanic eruptions - flood basalt eruptions - that can last for millions of years and may have contributed to the devastating Permian mass extinction. This programme was first shown in 2002.