This post started out as a reply to Terry’s response to my previous post: Is BP’s Oil Volcano An Extinction Level Event (ELE). There he takes exception to Dr. Gregory Ryskin‘s account of the ELE that occurred some 251 million years ago ( mya), comparing it to the account given in The Urantia Book in Paper 59 titled: “THE MARINE-LIFE ERA ON URANTIA. But as my reply started taking on a life of its own, I decided to kick it upstairs. Ergo, the following.
Before getting into the particulars of my reply, I want to draw attention to a couple of additional ELEs that may have been the result of massive methane explosions. The first occurred some 180 mya, as recounted in a paper titled: Massive dissociation of gas hydrate during a Jurassic oceanic anoxic event, to wit (bolds mine):
In the Jurassic period, the Early Toarcian oceanic anoxic event (about 183 million years ago) is associated with exceptionally high rates of organic-carbon burial, high palaeotemperatures and significant mass extinction. Heavy carbon-isotope compositions in rocks and fossils of this age have been linked to the global burial of organic carbon, which is isotopically light. In contrast, examples of light carbon-isotope values from marine organic matter of Early Toarcian age have been explained principally in terms of localized upwelling of bottom water enriched in 12C versus 13C (refs 1,2,5,6). Here, however, we report carbon-isotope analyses of fossil wood which demonstrate that isotopically light carbon dominated all the upper oceanic, biospheric and atmospheric carbon reservoirs, and that this occurred despite the enhanced burial of organic carbon. We propose that–as has been suggested for the Late Palaeocene thermal maximum, some 55 million years ago–the observed patterns were produced by voluminous and extremely rapid release of methane from gas hydrate contained in marine continental-margin sediments.
The second is an event that every grade school kid is familiar with, the extinction of the dinosaurs some 65 mya. In an 1999 article titled Did Asteroid-Induced Firestorm Destroy the Dinosaurs? , Space.com reports that:
Dinosaurs may have met their demise in a global firestorm of methane gas triggered by an asteroid impact, a team of scientists reports in the latest issue of Geo-Marine Letters.
The methane gas was released from the Earth by the asteroid collision and ignited by lightning, says Naval Research Laboratory scientist Barton Hurdle.
Hurdle told space.com that he and several colleagues put forth the idea — a fiery end to Earth’s greatest land creatures — before various teams of researchers in 1991 and 1992 theorized that a crater discovered in Mexico was the site of an asteroid impact responsible for the mass extinctions.
It shook up the ocean, generated tsunamis that ruptured pockets of methane that were trapped under gas hydrates, and it also created slumping — a sliding down of the ocean bottom — that released (the methane) too,” Hurdle said.
Now, to Terry’s comment. The subtitle of Paper 59 is “The Age of Biological Tribulation.” At 59:6.4-5 we read the following:
170,000,000 years ago great evolutionary changes and adjustments were taking place over the entire face of the earth. Land was rising all over the world as the ocean beds were sinking. Isolated mountain ridges appeared…The earth’s crust folded extensively during these land elevations. This was a time of continental emergence…
Now, my formal geological schoolin’ is limited to a single course of Hawaiian geology that I took on Maui in the early ’70s. As I recall, tectonic plate movements cause the earth’s crust to fold and shove up mountain ranges in the process, as reflected here:
When two continents carried on converging plates ram into each other, they crumple and fold under the enormous pressure, creating great mountain ranges.
Ryskin cites tectonic plate movement as one of the triggers responsible for massive methane releases. As we can see, TUB’s account is not inconsistent with that. Though TUB doesn’t specifically mention the role that methane might or might not play ELEs, the results are the same. If, per the above, the book says that the dinosaurs died off because they couldn’t adapt to climate change, it only begs the question: What was the mechanism behind that change? (TUB’s conditional revelatory mandates often produce these kind of connect-the-damn-dots people literary constructions.)
Which leaves us with the problem of how to reconcile the geological dates given in TUB with those given contemporary geology. One UB reader, Chris (who still works at NOAA, I believe) explains how he reconciles same in his paper History of Life. Without going into the details of Chris’ theory, and before applying it to the subject at hand, consider first this passage from TUB at 59:6.10:
160,000,000 years ago the land was largely covered with vegetation adapted to support land-animal life, and the atmosphere had become ideal for animal respiration. Thus ends the period of marine-life curtailment and those testing times of biologic adversity which eliminated all forms of life except such as had survival value, and which were therefore entitled to function as the ancestors of the more rapidly developing and highly differentiated life of the ensuing ages of planetary evolution.
IOW, TUB says the ELE at issue ended some 160 mya. Multiply that by Chris’ 1.6 conversion ratio and we come up 256 mya. Good enuff for government work, especially when you consider that there’s a 700,000 year margin of error for the Permian-Triassic boundary.
Not to be all Mr. Doom and Gloom though, I leave you with this quote from The Jesus Papers:
Jesus portrayed the profound surety of the God-knowing mortal when he said: “To a God-knowing kingdom believer, what does it matter if all things earthly crash?” Temporal securities are vulnerable, but spiritual sureties are impregnable. When the flood tides of human adversity, selfishness, cruelty, hate, malice, and jealousy beat about the mortal soul, you may rest in the assurance that there is one inner bastion, the citadel of the spirit, which is absolutely unassailable; at least this is true of every human being who has dedicated the keeping of his soul to the indwelling spirit of the eternal God.