It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.
Please white-list or disable AboveTopSecret.com in your ad-blocking tool.
Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.
(Livescience.com) A great explosive burning of coal set fire and made molten by lava bubbling from the Earth's mantle , looking akin to Kuwait's giant oil fires but lasting anywhere from centuries to millennia, could have been the cause of the world's most-devastating mass extinction, new research suggests.
The event, called the Great Dying, occurred 250 million years ago, at the end of the Permian period. "The Great Dying was the biggest of all the mass extinctions," said study researcher Darcy Ogden of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in San Diego. "Estimates suggest up to 96 percent of all marine species and 70 percent of all land species were lost."
Studies earlier this year found evidence of a compound called fly ash, one of the products of coal combustion, in rocks laid down right before this extinction event. The finding suggested a large amount of coal had combusted over a period of tens to thousands of years.
The researchers already knew a series of volcanic eruptions, which gave rise to a region of volcanic rock called the Siberian Traps, occurred around this time and covered up to 2.7 million square miles (7 million square kilometers) in lava. These lava floods, made of molten basalt rock, could have taken out the animals and plants directly in their paths. To have any global impact, however, the volcanic eruptions also would have needed to send airborne ash, soot and gases high into the atmosphere, the researchers noted.
Coal also seems to have been present in the area of the Siberian Traps, and the researchers thought that perhaps the lava burned up a large amount of coal and left the fly ash — but they weren't sure whether it was physically possible. They ran computer simulations of these processes and found evidence that a coal explosion could have been the cause of worldwide climate change and the Great Dying.
The study was published Dec. 19 in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Toxic constituents depend upon the specific coal bed makeup, but may include one or more of the following elements or substances in quantities from trace amounts to several percent: arsenic, beryllium, boron, cadmium, chromium, chromium VI, cobalt, lead, manganese, mercury, molybdenum, selenium, strontium, thallium, and vanadium, along with dioxins and PAH compounds.
In the past, fly ash was generally released into the atmosphere, but pollution control equipment mandated in recent decades now require that it be captured prior to release. In the US, fly ash is generally stored at coal power plants or placed in landfills. About 43 percent is recycled, often used to supplement Portland cement in concrete production. Some have expressed health concerns about this.
In some cases, such as the burning of solid waste to create electricity ("resource recovery" facilities a.k.a. waste-to-energy facilities), the fly ash may contain higher levels of contaminants than the bottom ash and mixing the fly and bottom ash together brings the proportional levels of contaminants within the range to qualify as nonhazardous waste in a given state, whereas, unmixed, the fly ash would be within the range to qualify as hazardous waste.
According to Wikipedia there are thousands of coal seam fires like that taking place now.
Originally posted by TheLieWeLive
This reminded me of Centralia, Pennsylvania where the underground coal burning has been going on for decades.