An artists depiction of a dinosaur and other animals escaping from an erupting volcano 235 million years ago in northwestern Argentina. Around 35 million years earlier, researchers believe that volcanic eruptions triggered the dawn of dinosaurs. | Victor Leshyk

Massive Volcanic Eruptions Triggered the Dinosaur Age

While eruptions contributed to the extinction of dinosaurs, new research shows that volcanism also set the stage for their domination.

June 19, 2017
3:00 PM EDT
I I ntense volcanic eruptions, along with a devastating meteor strike, likely contributed to the extinction of non-avian dinosaurs around 66.5 million years ago. Now new research shows that volcanic eruptions at the end of the Triassic period (252–201 million years ago) triggered the Dinosaur Age, meaning these animals were bookended by some of Earth’s most extreme and fiery conditions.
The field site in Morocco, where evidence for end-Triassic volcanism was found. | Jessica Whiteside
An artist’s recreation of the extinction of dinosaurs in the Deccan Traps of Western Ghats, India. | Zina Deretsky/ National Science Foundation/Wikimedia Commons