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

Michael Rampino, Ken Caldeira

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

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)
JournalGeoscience Frontiers
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - Jan 27 2017

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crater
extinction
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Keywords

  • Ejecta layers
  • Extinctions
  • Impact craters

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)

Cite this

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title = "Correlation of the largest craters, stratigraphic impact signatures, and extinction events over the past 250 Myr",
abstract = "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.",
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AB - 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.

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