Some say it was a devastating asteroid, but a new theory argues that lava may have helped end the age of the dinosaurs.
The controversial lava thesis links many of Earth's largest extinctions with massive eruptions of lava with -- specifically two unusually hot blobs of mantle 1739 miles or 2800 kilometers beneath the Earth, newscientist.com reported.
The huge lava masses formed just after the Earth itself, 4.5 billion years ago. If the hypothesis is correct, these masses have periodically burst through the Earth's crust, creating large oceans of lava.
The surface ruptuers flooded almost 40,000 square miles, creating distinct geological regions known as large igneous provinces (LIP), formed when the dinosaurs went extinct, UPI.com reported.
"There is an amazing correlation between mass extinctions and LIPs," Andrew Kerr at the University of Cardiff said.
What's more, a half dozen of the Earth's largest volcanic eruptions -- including the one that possibly eliminated the dinosaurs -- might all stem from the same ancient reservoir of super-hot rock near the Earth's core, scientists say, msnbc.com reported.