When the Indian subcontinent meets Asia and changes the configuration of the world

Nationalgeographic.co.id – A team of scientists from Princeton University identified the results of a reconstruction of the state of the earth 50 million years ago as the country is today subcontinent India meets Asia. The collision changed the configuration of continents, landscapes, global climate, and more, including increasing oxygen levels in the world’s oceans and changing living conditions.

Emma Kast, a Princeton University PhD student in geosciences who was involved in the research, said the results were unlike anything anyone had seen before. “The extent of the reconstructed changes surprised the scientists,” said Kast Princeton News.

Kast used microscopic shells to compile records of marine nitrogen from 70 million years ago – just before the dinosaurs went extinct – to 30 million years ago. John Higgins, a professor of geosciences at Princeton, said the record is a tremendous contribution to the field of global climate studies. “There are records in our field that you would consider fundamental that would have to explain any hypothesis that wants to make biogeochemical connections,” Higgins said.

“It’s few and far between, partly because it’s so difficult to make records that go way back in time. A fifty-million-year-old rock is unwilling to reveal its secrets. I will definitely consider Emma’s record as one of those basic records. From now on, those who want to be involved in how the Earth has changed over the past 70 million years will have to grapple with Emma’s data,” Higgins continued.

Also Read: This Fossil Reveals Ancient Mammal Groups and Splitting of the Continent of Pangea

Nitrogen is not only the most abundant gas in the atmosphere, but also the key to all life on earth. Every organism on earth needs nitrogen, nitrogen makes up 78 percent of our planet’s atmosphere. However, some organisms can “fix” it by converting the gas into a biologically useful form.

In the oceans, cyanobacteria in surface water convert nitrogen into all other marine life. When cyanobacteria and other living things die and sink to the bottom, they decay. Nitrogen has two stable isotopes, 15N and 14N. In oxygen-poor waters, the decomposition takes place with nitrogen.

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Modeling of world configuration changes

Oxygen controls the dispersal of marine organisms, with low-oxygen waters being bad for most marine life. Many past global warming events have resulted in reduced oxygen levels in the ocean, restricting the habitats of marine life, from the microscopic plankton to the fish and whales that feed on them. Scientists trying to predict the current and future effects of global warming have warned that low oxygen levels in the ocean could decimate marine ecosystems, including important fish populations.

How researchers are compiling an unprecedented geological record of ocean nitrogen. They found that in the 10 million years after the dinosaurs went extinct, the 15N to 14N ratio was high, indicating that ocean oxygen levels were low.

Also read: The Beginning of Photosynthesis: By Bacteria About 2.9 Billion Years Ago

They initially thought that the warm climate at the time was responsible because oxygen is less soluble in warm water. But over time other facts came to light, major changes in ocean oxygen levels occurred around 55 million years ago as the climate became warmer.

According to the researchers involved, this hypothesis contradicts initial estimates. The global climate is not the main cause of changes in the oxygen and nitrogen cycles of the oceans. The most likely root cause is plate tectonics. India’s collision with Asia was dubbed the “collision that changed the world” by legendary geographer Wally Broecker, a founder of modern climate science.

But that doesn’t mean that climate change can be ignored, he says. Over the span of years to thousands of years, global climate remains influential. The results of the study were published in the journal Science by title “Nitrogen Isotope Evidence for Extended Early Cenozoic Ocean Suboxia” and are openly accessible.


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