By Robert A. Vella
Author Elizabeth Kolbert coined the phrase “The Sixth Extinction” in 2014 with her shocking nonfiction book on catastrophic climate change. It details the anthropogenic (i.e. man-made) mass extinction event now transpiring on our planet, initially and primarily in the world’s oceans. And, this unfolding story of environmental destruction can be told by examining two previous mass extinctions in Earth’s history, the Permian-Triassic event of 250 million years ago and the K-T event of 65 million years ago which killed off the dinosaurs.
The second, and more popularly-known event, is widely attributed to the sudden impact of a large asteroid in the Yucatán Peninsula of Mexico(see: Chicxulub crater) which ejected huge quantities of debris into the atmosphere. Most of this ejecta immediately fell back to earth causing a massive atmospheric heat pulse sufficiently intense to kill virtually all large organisms unable to shelter themselves. The toxic…
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