Devastating volcanic eruptions may have been so enormous they turned the planet into “Snowball Earth” 717 million years ago, a study has found.
The volcanic outburst — one of the largest in Earth’s history — likely triggered a series of chemical reactions that sucked carbon dioxide (CO2) from Earth’s ancient atmosphere.
The massive eruptions, which occurred in what is now northern Canada, spewed cascades of lava that hardened into a volcanic highland covering 860,000 square miles (2.23 million square kilometers) — an area three times the size of Texas. Acidic rain then pelted these fresh rocks, producing a chemical reaction that may have enveloped the planet in ice for 57 million years.
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