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Posted Tue Feb 16 2010: from Yale 360:
An Ominous Warning on the Effects of Ocean Acidification
But when the scientists examined the sediment that had formed 55 million years ago, the color changed in a geological blink of an eye. "In the middle of this white sediment, there's this big plug of red clay," says Andy Ridgwell, an earth scientist at the University of Bristol. In other words, the vast clouds of shelled creatures in the deep oceans had virtually disappeared. Many scientists now agree that this change was caused by a drastic drop of the ocean's pH level. The seawater became so corrosive that it ate away at the shells, along with other species with calcium carbonate in their bodies. It took hundreds of thousands of years for the oceans to recover from this crisis, and for the sea floor to turn from red back to white.... Indeed, its speed and strength -- Ridgwell estimate that current ocean acidification is taking place at ten times the rate that preceded the mass extinction 55 million years ago -- may spell doom for many marine species, particularly ones that live in the deep ocean. "This is an almost unprecedented geological event," says Ridgwell.
[Read more stories about: ocean acidification, carbon emissions, faster than expected]

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