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Geologist Wins Top Science Award (Walter Alvarez)
All Headlines News ^ | 3-6-2006 | Yvonne Lee

Posted on 03/14/2006 5:40:39 PM PST by blam

Geologist Wins Top Science Award

March 6, 2006 10:00 p.m. EST

Yvonne Lee - All Headline News Staff Reporter

Reno, Nevada (AHN) - Geologist Walter Alvarez will receive the Desert Research Institute's silver medallion and a $20,000 prize.

The Associated Press reports the University of California-Berkeley scientist came up with the theory that dinosaurs were killed off when a comet or asteroid crashed into the Earth.

President of the institute Stephen G. Wells says, "Until the impact theory was finally proven, Dr. Alvarez and his colleagues were regarded as heretics by the `old guard' in the field of geology."

In the 1970s, Alvarez and his team found high levels of Iridium in Italy. The element is exceedingly rare on Earth, but is common in asteroids and comets.

They proposed a theory that said a giant asteroid crashed into the Earth and spewed smoke, dust and iridium into the sky. This blocked the sun and lowered the Earth's temperature, which killed plants and animals.

Few scientists supported his theory when it was published in the journal Science in 1980.

However, evidence of an enormous impact crater found in Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula in 1989 changed some minds.


TOPICS: Mexico; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: alvarez; award; catastrophism; chicxulub; geologist; godsgravesglyphs; impact; mexico; science; top; walter; walteralvarez; wins

1 posted on 03/14/2006 5:40:43 PM PST by blam
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To: SunkenCiv

Ping.


2 posted on 03/14/2006 5:41:30 PM PST by blam
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To: blam
They proposed a theory that said a giant asteroid crashed into the Earth and spewed smoke, dust and iridium into the sky. This blocked the sun and lowered the Earth's temperature, which killed plants and animals.

When?

3 posted on 03/14/2006 5:42:54 PM PST by airborne (Satan's greatest trick was convincing people he doesn't exist.)
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To: airborne
He suggested it in the 1970's.

The asteroid hit ~65 million years ago in what is now the Yucatan peninsula.

4 posted on 03/14/2006 5:49:36 PM PST by balrog666 (Come and see my new profile! Changed yet again!)
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To: airborne

They proposed a theory that said a giant asteroid crashed into the Earth and spewed smoke, dust and iridium into the sky. This blocked the sun and lowered the Earth's temperature, which killed plants and animals.

When?

Well, it had to be in the last 2000 years cause "mexico" didn't exist before then.

Probably why burritos give people gas, all those dinosaurs
chopped up and sitting in a freezer for a thousand years.


5 posted on 03/14/2006 5:50:36 PM PST by tet68 ( " We would not die in that man's company, that fears his fellowship to die with us...." Henry V.)
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To: airborne

Actually this is wonderful news, finally recognition for
a lot of hard work.


6 posted on 03/14/2006 5:51:47 PM PST by tet68 ( " We would not die in that man's company, that fears his fellowship to die with us...." Henry V.)
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To: tet68
"Actually this is wonderful news, finally recognition for a lot of hard work."

He's a nice, likeable guy too.

7 posted on 03/14/2006 5:56:19 PM PST by blam
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To: blam
A geologist won? That rocks!
8 posted on 03/14/2006 6:20:53 PM PST by JAWs (Ytringsfrihed er ytringsfrihed er ytringsfrihed. Der er intet men.)
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To: blam
I'm not sure this theory can be considered "finally proven." For a while about a decade ago I was on Mickey Rowe's Dinosaur List, which had a lot of very knowledgeable paleontologists on it, and at that point not everyone was in agreement with Alvarez.

I just took a look at this month's archives. Someone posted this announcement on the Dinosaur List on March 6, and one of the list members, Gautam Majumdar, pointed out that M. W. De Laubenfels had proposed an impact as the cause of the KT boundary mass extinction back in 1956 already.

Another list member linked to a press release from the University of Leicester about the work of two geologists at that university who argue for volcanism rather than an extraterrestrial impact as the cause of the mass extinctions. (The press release is entitled "Mass Extinctions -- A Threat from Outer Space or Our Own Planet's Detox?")

9 posted on 03/14/2006 7:05:14 PM PST by Verginius Rufus
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To: blam
No mention of the actual scientist who came up with the asteroid collision theory- Nobel prize winning physicist Luis Alvarez, father of Walter.

Reminds me of another father-son physicist-geologist team, Albert and Hans Albert Einstein. The story goes that Hans Albert was working on a theory to predict silt buildup behind a dam funded by the Tennessee Valley Authority. Well Hans Albert got stuck and asked his father for help. It didn't take Albert long to come up with the right formula. In so doing, he showed why rivers meander instead of flowing in a straight line.
10 posted on 03/14/2006 7:05:58 PM PST by trane250
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To: trane250
"No mention of the actual scientist who came up with the asteroid collision theory- Nobel prize winning physicist Luis Alvarez, father of Walter."

You are correct, I got them mixed up and in fact have been thinking of Luis.

11 posted on 03/14/2006 7:16:25 PM PST by blam
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To: JAWs

*groan*


12 posted on 03/14/2006 7:20:56 PM PST by null and void (Sept 11th: National Moderate Muslim Day of Tacit Approval)
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To: blam
I highly recommend "T Rex and the Crater of Doom" by Walter Alvarez.

Is a very good and entertaining read on geology and the search for what killed of the dinosaurs.
13 posted on 03/14/2006 7:24:13 PM PST by null and void (Sept 11th: National Moderate Muslim Day of Tacit Approval)
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To: blam
The Associated Press reports the University of California-Berkeley scientist came up with the theory that dinosaurs were killed off when a comet or asteroid crashed into the Earth.

Well deserved. I hope he uses some of that money to drink a toast to his dad the late Luis Alvarez who was instrumental to that find.

In Walter's book "T-Rex and the Crater of Doom" he has one of my favorite opening lines; "65 million years ago the Earth had a bad day".

14 posted on 03/14/2006 8:19:16 PM PST by Mike Darancette (In the Land of the Blind the one-eyed man is king.)
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To: blam
"He's a nice, likeable guy too."

Yes. Met him years ago; very approachable and open sort of fellow. His dad was good folks too.
15 posted on 03/14/2006 8:49:07 PM PST by RightOnTheLeftCoast (You're it)
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M. W. De Laubenfels had proposed an impact as the cause of the KT boundary mass extinction back in 1956 already.
That's interesting, I'm not sure I'd read that before. The Alvarez theory came to public attention circa 1980; an earlier attempt to use large impact as an explanation for the Great Dying was published in 1970 by someone else, and fell into the void. Pemex identified the crater in 1960 (!) without consideration of the origin or any connection with extinctions, and one of the Pemex geologists pointed it out to Luis circa 1980 -- without getting any response. The Chicxulub crater was finally fingered in 1990. The important role of impact wasn't finally victorious (and it has been victorious, despite the claims of some carpers among volcanologists) until 1994, when SL-9's fragments crashed one by one into Jupiter.
Asteroids: Deadly Impact Rain of Iron and Ice: The Very Real Threat of Comet and Asteroid Bombardment
Asteroids:
Deadly Impact

National Geographic
Rain of Iron and Ice:
The Very Real Threat of
Comet and Asteroid Bombardment

by John S. Lewis

16 posted on 03/15/2006 12:17:08 AM PST by SunkenCiv (Yes indeed, Civ updated his profile and links pages again, on Monday, March 6, 2006.)
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Dino asteroid led to global devastation

17 posted on 03/15/2006 12:19:29 AM PST by SunkenCiv (Yes indeed, Civ updated his profile and links pages again, on Monday, March 6, 2006.)
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Plot of the Innermost Solar System
Minor Planet Center
http://cfa-www.harvard.edu/iau/lists/InnerPlot2.html


18 posted on 03/15/2006 7:35:58 AM PST by SunkenCiv (Yes indeed, Civ updated his profile and links pages again, on Monday, March 6, 2006.)
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Night Comes to the Cretaceous
by James Lawrence Powell
reviewed Nov. 24, 1998
by Clark R. Chapman
[W]ith no generally accepted explanation for the dinosaurs' sudden demise, there was no broad, unified defense of an alternative to the Alvarez proposal. Nevertheless, as Powell documents, it was no easy road to acceptance of the idea, especially among paleontologists. One prominent astronomer even argued against the impact hypothesis... Powell finally realizes that the burden of proof has shifted to the anti-impactors... This is a well-written, intelligent book, accessible to the interested layperson but also fully footnoted for geoscientists who want more technical details. It is a thorough account of that portion of the K-T battle, now won, that was fought on a geological turf.
Night Comes to the Cretaceous Night Comes to the Cretaceous
by James Lawrence Powell

19 posted on 03/15/2006 8:48:21 AM PST by SunkenCiv (Yes indeed, Civ updated his profile and links pages again, on Monday, March 6, 2006.)
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Scientists Confirm Age Of The Oldest Meteorite Collision On Earth
Stanford University
The meteorite that led to the dinosaur extinction produced spherule deposits around the world that are less than 2 centimeters deep. But the spherule beds in South Africa and Australia are much bigger -- some 20 to 30 centimeters thick. A chemical analysis of the rocks also has revealed high concentrations of rare metals such as iridium -- rare in terrestrial rocks but common in meteorites...
The Earth may have been smooth as a cue ball though:
He and his colleagues point to evidence showing that, 3.5 billion years ago, Earth was mostly covered with water.
This very early impact wasn't the last:
In addition to the 3.47-billion-year-old impact, Lowe and Byerly have found evidence of meteorite collisions in three younger rock layers in the South African formation. According to Lowe, the force of those collisions may have been powerful enough to cause the cracks -- or tectonic plates -- that riddle the Earth's crust today.
The cracks (not plates) have extraterrestrial causes.
He also pointed to uncertainty among scientists about what the climate of the Archean Earth was really like. In a forthcoming study, Lowe will present evidence that the average temperature of the planet back then was very hot -- perhaps 185 F (85 C).
Was the much higher temperature due to the energy of the impact (duh!)? Or is this just another excuse to shill about the effect of so-called greenhouse gases?
20 posted on 03/15/2006 8:50:37 AM PST by SunkenCiv (Yes indeed, Civ updated his profile and links pages again, on Monday, March 6, 2006.)
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Ancient Impact Turned Part of Earth Inside-Out
by Robert Roy Britt
4 June 2004
A space rock the size of a large mountain hit 1.8 billion years ago and dredged up part of Earth's lower crust... The evidence comes from a crater in Sudbury, Ontario. Most of the crater was long ago folded into the planet or eroded away. But a section is exposed, revealing minerals and other features that can be compared to more recent craters that are more intact. From all this, scientists gleaned clues to the catastrophic impact. It appears an asteroid about 6 miles (10 kilometers) wide hit the planet at more than 89,000 mph (40 kilometers per second)... Mungall explained that in the top layers of the Sudbury structure, his team found relatively high concentrations of iron, nickel and platinum, stuff that is more common in the lower crust of the planet than in the upper crust (the elements exist in just trace amounts in both regions)... The top layers were also relatively depleted of zirconium, uranium and other elements that tend to show up in other impact sites that only involved melting of the upper crust... Mungall's team also found an enrichment of iridium in the overlying layer at the Sudbury complex, which was already thought to be part of an impact crater.

21 posted on 03/15/2006 8:51:48 AM PST by SunkenCiv (Yes indeed, Civ updated his profile and links pages again, on Monday, March 6, 2006.)
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To: blam
and BTW, thanks Blam!
Physics News Update Number 16 (Story #2)
by Phillip F. Schewe and Ben Stein
January 10, 1991
The far side of the Moon, impossible to see from the Earth, was recently photographed by the Galileo spacecraft on its way toward Jupiter. New information about the mineralogical composition of the far side's crust was recorded and pictures revealed the largest impact basin yet seen on the moon, more than 2000 km in diameter and so deep that is may have penetrated through the crust to the moon's mantle. (Eos, January 1, 1991.)

22 posted on 03/15/2006 8:53:20 AM PST by SunkenCiv (Yes indeed, Civ updated his profile and links pages again, on Monday, March 6, 2006.)
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 GGG managers are SunkenCiv, StayAt HomeMother & Ernest_at_the_Beach
Thanks blam.

Note: this topic is dated 3/14/2006.

Just adding to the catalog, not sending a general distribution.

To all -- please ping me to other topics which are appropriate for the GGG list.


23 posted on 02/24/2013 9:27:09 AM PST by SunkenCiv (Romney would have been worse, if you're a dumb ass.)
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Note: this topic is from 3/14/2006. I posted here, but never got around to adding it to ping lists etc. Thanks blam.



24 posted on 02/24/2013 9:28:18 AM PST by SunkenCiv (Romney would have been worse, if you're a dumb ass.)
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