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[[ Read Book ]] ¸ The Worst of Times: How Life on Earth Survived Eighty Million Years of Extinction õ Two hundred and sixty million years ago, life on Earth suffered wave after wave of cataclysmic extinctions, with the worst the end Permian extinction wiping out nearly every species on the planet The Worst of Times delves into the mystery behind these extinctions and sheds light on the fateful role the primeval supercontinent, known as Pangea, may have played in causing these global catastrophesDrawing on the latest discoveries as well as his own firsthand experiences conducting field expeditions to remote corners of the world, Paul Wignall reveals what scientists are only now beginning to understand about the most prolonged and calamitous period of environmental crisis in Earth s history He describes how a series of unprecedented extinction events swept across the planet in a span of eighty million years, rapidly killing marine and terrestrial life on a scale devastating than the dinosaur extinctions that would come later Wignall shows how these extinctions some of which have only recently been discovered all coincided with gigantic volcanic eruptions of basalt lavas that occurred when the world s landmasses were united into a single vast expanseUnraveling one of the great enigmas of ancient Earth, The Worst of Times also explains how the splitting apart of Pangea into the continents we know today ushered in a new age of vibrant and resilient life on our planet I read this book in a style I will call skim and read highlights underlining was provided by my husband who had read carefully I enjoyed this approach for this type book rather than just not exploring it The book was interesting but written in a textbook style with technicalities beyond me even so I learned some things and the activity was worthwhile. About 250 million years ago, something happened that killed 90% of all life on Earth The event was called the Permian Extinctions, and scientists have been debating the cause since Sir Roderick Murchison named the Permian geological period in 1841 based on the rise and sudden disappearance of representative life forms.Paul B Wignall lays out a convincing argument for the cause of this mega extinction in his book The Worst Of Times Based on evidence and research conducted in the last 15 years, About 250 million years ago, something happened that killed 90% of all life on Earth The event was called the Permian Extinctions, and scientists have been debating the cause since Sir Roderick Murchison named the Permian geological period in 1841 based on the rise and sudden disappearance of representative life forms.Paul B Wignall lays out a convincing argument for the cause of this mega extinction in his book The Worst Of Times Based on evidence and research conducted in the last 15 years, Wignall argues that the extinctions were not a single event but were multiple events over 80 million years that were caused by massive volcanic lava eruptions on the super continent of Pangea One of these eruptions resulted in the giant lava province called the Siberian Traps, and is estimated to have expelled 5 million cubic kilometers of lava and an unfathomable amount of CO2 and other gases That eruption, Wignall says, expelled CO2, hydrogen cloride, sulfur dioxide and other gases that destabilized the environment The gases ultimately resulted in world wide oxygen depleted seas anoxia and sea surface temperatures of an estimated 104 degrees F 40 degrees C The air and land also reached killing temperatures, wiping out a majority of Earth s terrestrial plants and animals Wignall says in the book that no vegetation remained that wasthat a few tens of centimeters high about 10 or 15 inches He writes, In short, it would have been possible to walk all over the world in the earliest Triassic without ever encountering a tree My note the Triassic is the geologic period after the Permian Sediments laid down after the Permian Extinctions were devoid of fossils, and life took several million years to recover The extinction at the boundary of the Permian and Triassic geological periods was the worst calamity in the history of life on earth but, Wagnall claims with good evidence to back it up, it was only one extinction of many during the 80 million years from the end of the Permian to the beginning of the Jurassic.One complaint of other reviewers is that this book is written in strong scientific jargon, and it may be difficult to digest without some background in science This may be true, but Wignall could not make a strong argument without laying out the science He describes the use of isotope ratios to derive oxygen and carbon dioxide content in ancient environments However, he spares us most of the details of chemistry, like when talking about ocean pH levels and their effect on limestones and the shells of sea creatures A reader might get a little confused by the latin names of all the plants and animals involved in the extinction events, but the important thing to understand is that the creature or plant survived orlikely they didn t, and Wignall makes a good effort to explain why.I thoroughly enjoyed this book Yeah, I know It took topics and ideas that I already knew, and it combined them into new ideas of natural events that I had not heard I have known about the Permian Extinctions since childhood, and I was always curious about the cause What child wouldn t be curious about a mysterious event that killed 90 per cent of the life on Earth It s better than a Godzilla movie There were many ideas about the cause of the extinctions, like volcanoes, meteorites and comets, cosmic clouds that blocked the sunlight, and others, but until now, no single idea won out Now Professor Wignall has given us a convincing argument to explain the cause of the Permian Extinctions jm Received via NetGalley and Princeton University Press in exchange for an completely unbiased review Also posted on Silk Serif The Worth of Times is a book that looks to be fairly straightforward on the surface, but is actually semi complex.Wignall s attempt to alert readers to our limited understanding of the global climate system comes across as part textbook and part climate debate.Wignall s novel describes how and why cataclysms caused mass extinctions in pre historic time He explains Received via NetGalley and Princeton University Press in exchange for an completely unbiased review Also posted on Silk Serif The Worth of Times is a book that looks to be fairly straightforward on the surface, but is actually semi complex.Wignall s attempt to alert readers to our limited understanding of the global climate system comes across as part textbook and part climate debate.Wignall s novel describes how and why cataclysms caused mass extinctions in pre historic time He explains how scientists use technology and ancient clues to solve the riddles surrounding mass extinctions He mainly describes the role of volcanic activities in mass extinction events The novel attempts to foster further understanding as to why LIPs large igneous provinces , which can develop into volcanic provinces, were so detrimental to life before Pangaea broke into smaller land masses.The Worst of Times is not a book for the uninitiated Although the description looks to be written for the masses, the content often became bogged down in detail and scientific jargon I found myself looking up certain Latin named species to understand just what creature Wignall was describing I also came across words I d never seen before due to the highly technical nature of the text Fortunately, Wignall rises above this and attempts to fill the reader in on some of these details.Prior to reading this title I was unaware of how completely uninformed I was about ancient geology, climate studies and their role in modern science I had always assumed that studies of extinction level events and climatic shifts were interesting but not at all relevant to today s world The Worst of Times completely changed that perception by causing me to understand the interlinked relationship between studying ancient climatic change and developing a deeper understanding of today s planetary climate system.I have read very few articles that convey a positive prognosis for a post global warming world and it is with this background that I found this novel to be refreshing The author provides plenty of evidence affirming the resiliency of life and the adaptability of Earth s climatic system which is a welcome change to the mass published panic enabling literature If Wingall s research is correct, it could mean we do not understand the long term effect of global warming or the strength of Earth s self correcting abilities The novel was not enough to change my perception of global warming, but it did offer some interesting food for thought.I found this title to be dense, often quite difficult to wade through but filled with wisdom I would not suggest this book if you re looking for a light, fun read with very simple concepts I still do not understand half of what I read I can only say that what looked like a novel akin to a Natural Geographic documentary actually became an academic study of mass extinction agents and climate change effects.This book would appeal to readers who enjoy science, scientific research, extinction events, ancient history and extremely educational novels I would recommend readers be prepared for a academic feeling novel as this is not part of the popular science trend 260 million years ago, life on Earth suffered several waves of catastrophic extinctions, with the worst extinction wiping out over 90% of species on the planet In this book, Professor Wignall investigates the worst 80 million years in Earth s history, a time marked by two mass extinctions the end Permian and the Triassic and four lesser crises and sheds light on the fateful role the supercontinent of Pangea might have played in causing these global catastrophes These global catastrophes all 260 million years ago, life on Earth suffered several waves of catastrophic extinctions, with the worst extinction wiping out over 90% of species on the planet In this book, Professor Wignall investigates the worst 80 million years in Earth s history, a time marked by two mass extinctions the end Permian and the Triassic and four lesser crises and sheds light on the fateful role the supercontinent of Pangea might have played in causing these global catastrophes These global catastrophes all have two factors in common 1 they occurred when the world s continents were united into the single continent of Pangea and 2 they coincided with gigantic volcanic eruptions The period covered in this book begins in the middle of the Permian Period, spans the entire Triassic, and finishes in the Early Jurassic This book examines what happened during the Permo Jurassic extinctions of Pangea, evaluate what may have caused these catastrophesspecifically, to ask, how volcanism could have done it , and finally to understand whether the resilience of the biosphere has changed in 260 million years or whether it has just become luckier thanks to continental separation i.e are supercontinents bad for life.Wignall examines each of the extinction events in chronological order, with numerous illustrations diagrams as necessary to help clarify the text One complaint other reviewers have written about is the scientific jargon used in this book, but I have no idea how the author was supposed to make a strong argument for his hypothesis without the relevant terminology However, I did not consider the use of scientific terms to be excessive or complicated the author does not go into excruciating chemical detail he states what happens and why in understandable terms This is primarily a book about a time when Earth was very different, a time of supercontinents, super oceans, and super eruptions, and above all, an age of mass extinctions I found the writing to be clear and logical and the book to be thoroughly enjoyable and informative