"That paper helped the volcanism side because it dismissed volcanism," said Princeton University paleontologist Gerta Keller, who has long been skeptical of the timing of the Chicxulub impact and has sought answers to the Cretaceous-Tertiary (a.k.a., K-T, or Cretaceous-Paleogene) extinction in India's Deccan Traps, which are arguably the largest volcanic deposit on the planet.
While the timing has long been debatable, more recently, however, radiometric dating of the impact debris suggests the K-T event and the Chicxulub collision happened no more than 33,000 years apart.
Still, Keller's work, and that of others, has unearthed evidence that the Deccan Traps' series of eruptions were not only timed right, but they released an order of magnitude more climate altering greenhouses gases into the atmosphere than the single Chicxulub impact could have. What's more, they have been directly tied to extinctions in the oceans in that part of the world.
The research has revealed that the Deccan Traps had three main periods of eruption spanning some 2.5 million years. Each phase of eruption lasted on the order of 100,000 years or less and had within them powerful pulses that released roughly 10,000 cubic kilometers (2,400 cubic miles) of lava in less than a century and maybe even in just a decade, explained Vincent Courtillot of the University of Paris, who is among those presenting at the meeting.