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Did dinosaurs die at hands of meteorite fall or volcanic eruption?

11/05/2004 12:00AM

Did dinosaurs die at hands of meteorite fall or volcanic eruption?

An Open University research student will reveal her findings on what caused one of the world’s ‘Big Five’ mass extinctions at the Geological Society of America’s annual meeting in Denver, USA, this month.


Comments:

  • filmdos [Paul Walsh]
  • 11/05/2004 02:03PM
I agree J.D., which I why I placed both elements in my illustration 8) <br><br>-Paul

  • beuthin [Jack Beuthin]
  • 11/06/2004 10:38AM
Two points worth remembering when pondering mass extinctions and their causes:<br><br>1) Demonstrating co-incicidence between a mass extinction and some physical event is not a demonstration of cause-and-effect. Plenty of evidence is consistent with a K/T bolide impact, and the Deccan traps are well known. Proving that either a bolide impact, or Deccan volcanism directly resulted in ecological collapse is a sticky scientific issue that remains unresolved.<br><br>2) Any hypothetical "kill mechanism" must explain the total pattern of extinction and survivial during an extinction event. In the case of the K/T event, the media hyper-focus on "what killed the dinosaurs" oversimplifies a very complex pattern of ecosytem stress during the very late Cretaceous Period. When one looks at the "big picture," finding a simple (and scientifically plausible) answer to "what killed the dinosaurs" is not so simple.<br><br>Regarding the upcoming talk at GSA: the approach of the research seems novel and potentially insightful. However, the stratigraphic record generally cannot be resolved in the temporal detail needed to reveal a "catastrophic" event that occurred in days or months. The contribution made by this research will be more evident when it is published in a peer-reviewed journal. The criteria for presenting a talk at a GSA meeting is not nearly as rigorous as the criteria for publication in a top-tier journal. For myself, I view this presentation as very interesting and potentially insightful, but still preliminary until it has been fully scrutinized by the geo-scientific community.<br><br>Jack Beuthin