Earth's prehistoric rains lasted for about 2 million years completely transforming the planet

The high amount of rain was because of high levels of humidity in the air, resulting from massive volcanic eruptions.

Earth's prehistoric rains lasted for about 2 million years completely transforming the planet
Cover Image Source: Youtube | Bright Side

If you were told that 232 million years ago, Earth underwent a period of arid conditions that were later rescued by the onset of rainfall, you might dismiss it as the plot of a science fiction tale. However, this seemingly implausible scenario is rooted in scientific reality.

Geologists found this in the ancient rocks in the 1970s and 80s. A gray rock was studied by geologists in the UK and by forensic scientist Alastair Ruffell. In the Easter Alps, a team discovered siliciclastic sedimentation deposited in carbonate. Both siliciclastic sedimentation and gray rocks highlight how at the beginning of the dinosaur age, there was a period of high rains for over 1-2 million years, as per IFL Science.


Since this discovery, more and more evidence has come up that the wet period was possibly the "trigger that enabled dinosaurs, and possibly the other members of the modern terrestrial fauna, to diversify and dominate the land." For this reason, this event is called the Carnian Pluvial event. It is also called the Carnian Crisis. The high amount of rainfall was because of high levels of humidity in the air, resulting from the massive volcanic eruption of the Wrangellia Large Igneous Province, which runs from South Central Alaska to British Columbia.

"The eruptions peaked in the Carnian," Jacopo Dal Corso, a researcher on the eruption, told Everything Dinosaur. "I was studying the geochemical signature of the eruptions a few years ago and identified some massive effects on the atmosphere worldwide. The eruptions were so huge, they pumped vast amounts of greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide and there were spikes of global warming."


Geologists have also revealed that the humid and wet period was not the best for life in general. Research published in the Journal of the Geological Society reveals that it was a time when "volcanic eruptions generate acid rain and greenhouse gases, which in turn lead to extinctions by shock warming, stripping of vegetation and soils on land, and ocean anoxia and acidification."

Many species could not survive these rains but the ones that did, were there to stay. "In the wake of wide extinctions of plants and key herbivores on land, the dinosaurs were seemingly the main beneficiaries in the time of recovery, expanding rapidly in diversity, ecological impact (relative abundance) and regional distribution, from South America initially, to all continents," they wrote in the paper. "It may have been one of the most important [rapid events] in the history of life in terms of its role in allowing not only the ‘age of dinosaurs’ but also the origins of most key clades that form the modern fauna of terrestrial tetrapods, namely the lissamphibians, turtles, crocodiles, lizards and mammals."


It is indeed interesting to know that the earth saw rain for a long stretch of time and many species were even wiped out as a result of these rains. However, the ones that were able to survive the harsh and neverending rains would survive for a long time to come. This is without doubt one of the most important events in the history of the surviving species.