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South Coast Researcher Says New Study Points To Volcanic Eruption As Part Of Global Cooling Event

El Salvador's Ilopango volcano, which researchers say was resposnible for an eruption which led to a period of global cooling nearly 1500 years ago

It’s a mystery which has baffled scientists for decades. But now, a new study led by a South Coast researcher details one of a pair of massive volcanic eruptions responsible for a global cooling event which led to millions of deaths. Dr. Robert Dull is the new chair of California Lutheran University’s Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences.

He led a team of 11 researchers in a project looking at the causes of extended global cooling in the sixth century.

Dull says it’s almost hard to comprehend the scope of what happened. El Salvador’s Ilopango volcano eruption killed thousands within minutes.

Dull says ash from the blast then turned hundreds of thousands of people further out from the volcano into refugees, because ash ruined the crops and water supplies they needed to survive.

Dull says their research has helped solve the big mystery: The source of a global cooling event contributing to millions of deaths. Dull says the cooling event last about 15 years, opening the door to widespread famine, and outbreaks of plague which killed millions.

The Cal Lutheran professor’s just published research will be featured in the Smithsonian Channel documentary “Dark Age Volcano” which airs Wednesday night.

Lance Orozco has been News Director of KCLU since 2001, providing award-winning coverage of some of the biggest news events in the region, including the Thomas and Woolsey brush fires, the deadly Montecito debris flow, the Borderline Bar and Grill attack, and Ronald Reagan's funeral. 
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