First plants caused ice ages


03/02/2012

The appearance of the first plants on land triggered a series of ice ages and global changes in the atmosphere. It is quite possible that they were responsible for one of the mass extinctions of life on earth. The dramatic role of ancient moss, which came out on the land during the Ordovician period, was discovered by researchers from the Universities of Exeter and Oxford. According to them, once on dry land about 470 million years ago, the ancestors of the moss is actively involved in the processes of erosion, loosening, dissolving and breaking rocks.

Ancient mohopodobnye plant self-sufficient in nutrients such as iron, magnesium, phosphorus and calcium, getting them right out of the rocks and cliffs. Thus, the rate of arrival of all these elements in the water world’s oceans has increased significantly, thereby making seawater more nutritious and biological systems more productive. An increase in the growth of populations of marine animal and plant species has led in turn to a rapid reduction in levels of carbon in the atmosphere.

In addition, mosses at this time also engaged in the process of recycling atmospheric carbon (which is part of carbon dioxide), transforming it into their own tissue. As a result, the joint efforts of mosses and marine life reduced by several times the carbon dioxide content - its main "insulation" - in the atmosphere. The temperature on earth has decreased by almost 10 degrees, which triggered the mass extinction of marine animals in the far end of the Ordovician period.

Such "biogenic" coldness and resulted in a series of large-scale glaciation, which were frozen due to many areas of the Earth about 440 million years ago. As noted by Professor Tim Lenton of the University of Exeter in the UK, and today the plants continue to cool the climate of our planet, however, it is difficult to resist the humanity which emits into the atmosphere every year huge quantities of carbon dioxide, it is dangerous to the development of global warming on Earth.


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