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New techniques

Dating pinpoints volcanoes that killed half of species, split continents.

New techniques for dating rocks have helped narrow the time frame of a chain of massive volcanic eruptions that wiped out half of the world’s species 200 million years ago, a study said Thursday.

The result is the most precise date yet — 201,564,000 years ago — for the event, which is known as the Triassic-Jurassic extinction event, said the study, published in the journal Science. The event was the fourth mass extinction in the history of our planet.

The eruptions “had to be a hell of an event,” said coauthor Dennis Kent, an expert on paleomagnetism at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory.
They may offer a historic parallel to the human-caused climate change happening today, by showing how sharp increases in carbon dioxide can outpace vulnerable species’ ability to adapt, researchers said.

The new analysis narrows the estimated date from its previous range of up to 3 million years to just 20,000 years at most — a blink of an eye in geological terms.

The eruptions caused an already hot Earth to become even more stifling, killing off plants and animals and making way for the age of the dinosaurs — before they, too, were eventually obliterated some 65 million years ago, possibly by another volcanic event combined with a devastating meteor strike.

Stunning woman

A Gentleman’s Guide to Dating Out of Your League.

It happens everyday. You’re at a bar, or on the subway, and you see her: a stunning woman with glowing skin and legs as long as the Mississippi. She reverberates with confidence and walks mean. You’d talk to her if it weren’t for one thing: She’s out of your league.

The truth is, she isn’t. The idea of not having a shot with a woman who’s more attractive than you is bull, and we’re here to show you why with our gentleman’s guide to dating out of your league.

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