THE VERNESHOT HYPOTHESIS
Recently, a team of scientists at Kiel University in Germany have presented a new theory regarding the K/T extinction. They have put the blame of the extinction on, what they call, a Verneshot. This theory has been recently conceived and still dwells in its infancy, but it does have a great advantage over the others: it explains why an impact and continental flood basalts always coincide when the chances of both occurring simultaneously are infinitesimally small. Geologic past contains the signs of 4 major eruptions. Each of these extinctions events shows signs of both a meteorite impact and continental flood basalts. The probability of both events occurring together in one extinction event is probable. The chances of both events occurring together 4 times in the last 400 Ma, is astronomical.
To make this theory valid, a mechanism had to be presented which would be capable of creating both the signs of a meteorite impact and continental flood basalts. The result is the Verneshot hypothesis. A Verneshot is caused when a mantle plume comes in contact with a craton. Since the craton is structurally stronger, the plume cannot melt its way through effectively. This causes the lava and gases to build up deep into the subsurface. If there are fractures (say for example in a continental rift zone) then some of the lava will travel along the fractures and erupt onto the surface creating the continental flood basalts such the Deccan traps. When the pressure reaches an unbearable limit in the subsurface, it will cause a massive explosion which would be quite analogous to a meteorite impacting the Earth. Gases, debris and perhaps even a projectile (called Verneshot projectile) would be thrown into the atmosphere. The release of gases and debris would have the necessary climatic effects on the environment to cause a mass extinction.