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2018-03-12. After a Volcano’s Ancient Supereruption, Humanity May Have Thrived.

posted Mar 15, 2018, 10:16 AM by Alan Gould
By Shannon Hall, The New York Times. For GSS Energy Flow chapter 2 and Life and Climate chapter 11. Excerpt: About 74,000 years ago, a supervolcano at the site of present-day Lake Toba on the Indonesian island of Sumatra rocked our world. But while it was the largest volcanic eruption of the last two million years, a new study published Monday in Nature suggests that humans not only survived the event — they thrived. The study counters previous hypotheses, which suggested that the behemoth was so disastrous it caused the human species to teeter on the brink of extinction. ... Climate models suggest that temperatures may have plummeted by as much as 30 degrees Fahrenheit. And in such a cold world, plants may have ceased growing, glaciers may have advanced, sea-levels may have dropped and rainfall may have slowed. Then in 1998, Stanley Ambrose, an anthropologist, linked the proposed disaster to genetic evidence that suggested a population bottleneck had occurred around the same time. He was certain that the Toba supereruption had caused the human population to decline to some 10,000 people — a close call for our ancestors. ...The latest study, however, suggests that those theories are incorrect, Dr. Petraglia said. “We’re not seeing all the drama.”.... https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/12/science/toba-supervolcano-supereruption.html