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Sudden death at the end of the Mesozoic

Earth and Planetary Science Letters

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Abstract

A paleoecological analysis of the fossil record before and after the Cretaceous/Tertiary boundary indicates that the widespread extinctions and biological stresses around the boundary are best explained in terms of a sudden, significant, but short temperature rise. L. Alvarez and co-authors, having found an enrichment in iridium at the same boundary, postulated that it was associated with the impact of an extraterrestrial body. If this body struck the ocean, the water injected into the atmosphere may have led to a transient increase in the global surface temperature. This temperature pulse may have been primarily responsible for the effects observed in the biosphere. The pattern of extinction of higher plant species suggests that splash down occurred in the northern Pacific-Bering Sea area. ?? 1981.

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Article
Publication Subtype:
Journal Article
Title:
Sudden death at the end of the Mesozoic
Series title:
Earth and Planetary Science Letters
Volume
55
Issue:
3
Year Published:
1981
Language:
English
Larger Work Type:
Article
Larger Work Subtype:
Journal Article
First page:
317
Last page:
334
Number of Pages:
18