Skip to comments.Far More Than A Meteor Killed Dinos, Evidence Suggests
Posted on 10/25/2006 3:33:16 PM PDT by blam
Source: Geological Society of America
Date: October 24, 2006
Far More Than A Meteor Killed Dinos, Evidence Suggests
There's growing evidence that the dinosaurs and most their contemporaries were not wiped out by the famed Chicxulub meteor impact, according to a paleontologist who says multiple meteor impacts, massive volcanism in India, and climate changes culminated in the end of the Cretaceous Period.
Cottonmouth Creek waterfall over the event deposit with reworked Chicxulub impact spherules. The original Chicxulub ejecta layer was discovered in a yellow clay layer 45 cm below the base of the event deposit. The yellow clay represents a cheto smectite clay consisting of altered Chicxulub impact glass spherules. (Image courtesy of Geological Society of America)
The Chicxulub impact may, in fact, have been the lesser and earlier of a series of meteors and volcanic eruptions that pounded life on Earth for more than 500,000 years, say Princeton University paleontologist Gerta Keller and her collaborators Thierry Adatte from the University of Neuchatel, Switzerland, and Zsolt Berner and Doris Stueben from Karlsruhe University in Germany. A final, much larger and still unidentified impact 65.5 million years ago appears to have been the last straw, exterminating two thirds of all species in one of the largest mass extinction events in the history of life. It's that impact -- not Chicxulub -- which left the famous extraterrestrial iridium layer found in rocks worldwide that marks the impact that finally ended the Age of Reptiles.
"The Chicxulub impact could not have caused the mass extinction," says Princeton University paleontologist Gerta Keller, "because this impact predates the mass extinction and apparently didn't cause any extinctions."
Keller is scheduled to present that evidence at the Annual Meeting of the Geological Society of America in Philadelphia, 22-25 October. The results of her research, which was funded by the National Science Foundation, will be discussed in two technical sessions and a public lecture sponsored by the Philadelphia Geological Survey.
Marine sediments drilled from the Chicxulub crater itself, as well as from a site in Texas along the Brazos River, and from outcrops in northeastern Mexico reveal that Chicxulub hit Earth 300,000 years before the mass extinction. Small marine animal microfossils were left virtually unscathed, says Keller.
"In all these localities we can analyze the marine microfossils in the sediments directly above and below the Chicxulub impact layer and cannot find any significant biotic effect," said Keller. "We cannot attribute any specific extinctions to this impact." No one has ever published this critical survival story before, she said. Keller's research was funded by the National Science Foundation.
The story that seems to be taking shape is that Chicxulub, though violent, actually conspired with the prolonged and gigantic eruptions of the Deccan Flood Basalts in India, as well as with climate change, to nudge species towards the brink. They were then shoved over with a second large impact.
The Deccan volcanism did the nudging by releasing vast amount of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere over a period of more than a million years leading up tothe mass extinction. By the time Chicxulub struck, the oceans were already 3-4 degrees warmer, even at the bottom, she says.
"On land it must have been 7-8 degrees warmer," says Keller. "This greenhouse warming is well documented. The temperature rise was rapid, over about 20,000 years, and it stayed warm for about100,000 years, then cooled back to normal well before the mass extinction."
Marine species at the time suffered from the heat. Most adapted to the stress conditions by dwarfing, growing less than half their normal size and reproducing rapidly with many offspring to increase the chances for survival. The Chicxulub impact coincided with this time. By the time climate cooled back to normal, most tropical species were on the brink of extinction. Then the second large impact hit and pushed them over the brink -- many straight to extinction.
As for how the dinosaurs were affected, that's a bit harder to say specifically, since dinosaurs did not leave a lot of fossils behind to tell the tale.
"Dinosaur fossils are few and far between," Keller said. "People love the dinosaurs but we can only really study what happened to them by looking at microfossils because these little critters are everywhere at all times. In just a pinch of sediment we can tell you the age, the prevailing climate, the environment in which it was deposited and what happened. It's remarkable."
What the microfossils are saying is that Chicxulub probably aided the demise of the dinosaurs, but so did Deccan trap volcanism's greenhouse warming effect and finally a second huge impact that finished them off. So where's the crater?
"I wish I knew," said Keller. "There is some evidence that it may have hit in India, where a crater of about 500 kilometers in diameter is estimated and named Shiva by paleontologist Sankar Chatterjee from the Museum of Texas Tech University in Lubbock. The evidence for it, however, is not very compelling at this time."
I'm sticking with the flood idea...hehehe
I always thought it was Doug McClure with a spear.
it was emission from pre-historic SUV's (known as mammoths and the large amounts of methane they released, as well as they took up the da*n smokin habit)...
Agree, why more people can't take the Bible literally and come to the conclusion that a world-wide flood killed the dinosaurs is beyond me.
nah, it was rachal..she made them stop in their tracks so the hunter/gatherers could get to them..
one dino to another: DAMMIT, WHY can't OUR females look like that??
Makes sense. Any one event is probably not enough to cause a worldwide mass extinction -- unless it comes at just the worst possible time because of other events which happen to be taking place at the same time and already putting a strain on the ecosystems. In that situation, it'd be the last straw, but all the events would be contributing factors.
Because all the real-world evidence contradicts that hypothesis.
Global warming; who would have guessed?
(Gen 7:10 KJV) And it came to pass after seven days, that the waters of the flood were upon the earth.
(Gen 7:11 KJV) In the six hundredth year of Noah's life, in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month, the same day were all the fountains of the great deep broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened.
We know it wasn't Ringo Starr.
You mean it wasn't from smoking?
Hee hee, great minds....
I know I'm beat BUT
Maybe the secondhand smoke from the volcano...
my point precisely..
LOL. You could be right. A little dicey going after T-Rex with a spear.
1 picture=1000 words
The fact that there isn't the remotest scrap of evidence that a world-wide simultaneous flood ever occured at any point in the history of the earth might have something to do with it.
BTW, where in the Bible was the "except the dinosaurs" clause from God to Noah?
Try 40 days and nights of rain and floods!
I get tired of all this bickering over how many million years ago something happened. I say let's just build the time machine and go back and settle this once and for all.
It wasn't in there because most of them had already been exterminated bt the time of Noah. Where was Greenpeace and PETA then when they were really needed?
maybe the work of a serial killer?
It was Bush's fault, just get with it, alright!
The timing is off by about 65 million years.
Bush and those damned SUVs.
Women and minorities hardest hit.
They just don't make cave women like that any more.
Wasn't Chicxulub that annoying little guy who used to mess with Superman - the guy you had to say his name backwards to make him go away?
"The fact that there isn't the remotest scrap of evidence that a world-wide simultaneous flood ever occured at any point in the history of the earth might have something to do with it.
BTW, where in the Bible was the "except the dinosaurs" clause from God to Noah?"
Couple things. The Grand Canyon is a pretty good indication of a world wide flood. I can't recall where I read it but there have been many instances of fossils of sea creatures in mountain ranges throughout the earth. How did they get there? Almost every religion on earth makes mention of a deluge that destroyed entire cultures. Just a few "scraps of evidence" of a world-wide flood.
Also, the Bible doesn't say "except the dinosaurs". Perhpas Noah put them on (the smaller versions as our modern day dinosaurs - alligators et al - continue to grow for life) and perhaps they couldn't survive as well in the post-flood earth - what with no water vapor canopy and all. I don't know as I wasn't there. However, God said there was a flood that reached over the mountaintops so I believe there was. I don't have all the details but that's what makes faith so beautiful. You don't need to have everything explained in detail or human logic (otherwise it isn't faith). Some things just don't make a lot of sense right now.
Not unlike rooting for a football team. You have all the faith in the world that your team will make it to and win the super bowl. Why? You just do - a matter of faith.
That's a very honest admission.
That's a very honest admission.
Vindicating Gore and increasing his chances for a 2nd presidential nomination...
He was right, he was there!
"In other words, they don't know WTF killed the dinos. And the don't really know when they lived, but they're sure they did. They think."
Yup. And after many more decades that will still be the situation because no one was there to see it for themselves.
Perhaps its a fact of life on an ever-changing planet.
I would go with the simple notion that a meteor that large could have created a caldera where it hit. Then, in a relatively short period of time the caldera would have erupted in a supervolcano, wiping out all nearby traces of the meteor hit.
The location of that crater could be narrowed down by the only places on Earth without an Iridium layer attributed to that meteor.
There are lots of things I didn't see for myself. I never saw Thomas Jefferson. I've never seen the pyramids of Egypt, nor heard a single shot fired in the War Between the States. But I have no doubt that those things are/were real.
Genesis 7:11 In the six hundredth year of Noah's life, in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month, the same day were all the fountains of the great deep broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened.
12And the rain was upon the earth forty days and forty nights.
Was the Deccan event an asteroid impact? There was another massive lava event in Siberia. Was that also an asteroid impact?
eh, I should have read further down ... you beat my post (#48).