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There are at least a dozen Phanerozoic continental flood basalts and oceanic plateaus (large igneous provinces) that roughly obey a “rule of two times one million” (volume of extruded lava of one million cubic kilometers and duration of volcanic activity ~1 m.y.). The correlation between large igneous province ages and mass extinctions (and oceanic anoxia events) is excellent, but quantitative scenarios are still wanting. We hypothesize that the temporal sequences of extrusions determine the severity of extinction: Volcanic pulses separated by thousands of years allow the ocean-atmosphere system time to recover, whereas large volcanic pulses occurring in a shorter sequence...

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