A team of researchers at the University of Southampton has found that a mysterious mass extinction event that happened almost 359 million years ago could be the result of ozone layer erosion.

Scientists believe that a similar mass extinction event could happen in the future, as the ozone layer that protects the earth from the deadly solar radiation is getting depleted due to the release of chlorofluorocarbons into the atmosphere.

Ozone layer
Ozone layer in the lower part of the Earth's stratosphere continues to thin, according to scientists.Creative Commons

An Extinction Event that Happened During the Devonian Period

During the study, researchers found that plant spores, during the time of Devonian period were damaged due to deadly solar radiation, and this finding indicates the absence of a healthy ozone layer in the earth's atmosphere.

Scientists revealed that this ozone layer erosion is also linked to global warming, which means the modern world in which we live is currently heading towards a mass extinction event, as the global temperature is rising drastically due to human interference in nature. It should be noted that the mass extinction event analyzed the Southampton scientists was during the period of global warming after an ice age, and it was during this time that ozone layer erosion took place.

"Our ozone shield vanished for a short time in this ancient period, coinciding with brief and quick warming of the Earth. Our ozone layer is naturally in a state of flux—constantly being created and lost—and we have shown this happened in the past too, without a catalyst such as a continental scale volcanic eruption," said John Marshall, the lead author of the study.

Mass Extinction Guaranteed

A few weeks back, Piotr Skubała a professor at the University of Silesia's Institute of Biology, Biotechnology and Environmental Protection, Poland had suggested that humans are killing planet earth. The professor also made it clear that human civilization can be preserved only if we start acting now to protect the planet.

Skubala added that earth will be facing a mass extinction event soon, as the planet has already passed all the seven markers that are not good for the future.