Did American volcanoes trigger fall of Roman Empire?
J Thoendell stashed this in Science
On March 24 536AD the sky suddenly darkened across continental Europe as a thick dust cloud rolled in and stayed put for 18 months.
Historians such as Prokopios record that the Sun shone as dimly as the Moon, sparking summer frosts and snow showers and providing too little light to ripen crops and fruit. Three years later a similar dust veil blocked out sunlight for several months.
The natural catastrophes led to widespread famine and was responsible for the Great Justinian Plague which wiped out one third of Europeans and probably dealt the fatal blow to the struggling Roman Empire.
Now scientists have determined that the cause was probably a series of North American volcanoes which shot huge amounts of sulphate and ash into the atmosphere, followed by further eruptions in the Tropics.
New studies of ice cores and historical records by the British Antarctic Survey, Nottingham University and 17 other international universities and institutions, show that there was a huge volcanic eruption in 535AD or early 536AD in North America. A second eruption occurred in 539AD.
The volcanic activity was ruinous for Mediterannean communities. Cassiodorus, a praetorian prefect in Italy wrote that the country had ‘a winter without storms, spring without mildness, summer without heat".