WHEN LIFE NEARLY DIED

RESEARCHERS LINK EARTH'S GREATEST MASS EXTINCTION TO SIBERIAN VOLCANOES THAT ERUPTED FOR A MILLION YEARS

Ancient volcanoes begin spewing smoke and lava across the plains of Siberia and don't stop for a million years. The sky all around the earth becomes dusty and foul. Eventually the planet is rendered so wretchedly uninhabitable that life itself is nearly snuffed out.

Science fiction? The apocalyptic vision of a doomsday cult? No, this disastrous scenario came last week from the sober pages of the journal Science. A team of U.S. and Chinese researchers studying the remains of volcanoes that began erupting 250 million years ago reported that according to radioactive dating, the eruptions coincided in geologic time with one...

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