The Devonian period ended at the same time that the Bakken began to accumulate, allowing layers of organically rich shale to “record” the environmental conditions found there. As the Earth’s continents were flooded during this time, various deposits, including black shale, gradually accumulated in the inland seas formed in geological depressions.

After analyzing the samples, the scientists deciphered layers of clear sediment representing three major biotic crises known as the Annulata, Dasberg, and Hangenberg events, and the most recent crisis was associated with one of the largest mass extinctions in Earth’s history, about 350 million years ago.

Sea level rise may have caused the flooding of the transition zone between the ocean and continental crust. Under these conditions, high levels of nutrients such as phosphorus and nitrogen may have triggered algal blooms that create low-oxygen zones in large bodies of water. These areas will lead to an increase in toxic hydrogen sulfide where most marine animals live. Under these conditions, land animals in the oceans and coastlines would have perished during the Late Devonian events.

Source: Ferra

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