Correlation of the largest craters, stratigraphic impact signatures, and extinction events over the past 250 Myr

Michael R. Rampino, Ken Caldeira

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The six largest known impact craters of the last 250 Myr (≥70 km in diameter), which are capable of causing significant environmental damage, coincide with four times of recognized extinction events at 36 (with 2 craters), 66, and 145 Myr ago, and possibly with two provisional extinction events at 168 and 215 Myr ago. These impact cratering events are accompanied by layers in the geologic record interpreted as impact ejecta. Chance occurrences of impacts and extinctions can be rejected at confidence levels of 99.96% (for 4 impact/extinctions) to 99.99% (for 6 impact/extinctions). These results argue that several extinction events over the last 250 Myr may be related to the effects of large-body impacts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1241-1245
Number of pages5
JournalGeoscience Frontiers
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2017



  • Ejecta layers
  • Extinctions
  • Impact craters

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)

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