On the 1st to the 5th of this month, the Lunar and Planetary Institute held their annual conference, and published at the event and in the Journal Science was an article confirming and bolstering the consensus on the asteroid-kills-dinosaurs paradigm (Schulte et al. 2010).
I know what you’re thinking… “we already knew that!”
Well if your only access to science is independent TV, “common” sense and a secondary level education then you’d be right, but actually whilst the asteroid camp is in the majority, there are people out there including some of my lecturers at university who champion the idea that Flood Volcanism caused massive climatic perturbations which in turn killed off the dinosaurs, Such as Glasby and Kunzendorf (1996).
Now to be fair to the Flood Basalt proponents, their case is an interesting one, and one might expect a series of eruptions that emanate over one million cubic kilometres of lava would have a massive impact on the planet, and indeed the new paper admits that there are some shorter term effects from each eruptive event.
The Chicxulub impactor however would have ejected 5000 times more sulphur in a matter of minutes than erupted from the Deccan Traps in a whole year according to current models and measurements. Thus ensuring a major climatic spanner was well and truly thrown into the works which even anthropogenic global warming and its few but outspoken sceptics would swoon over.
Hopefully I’ve peaked your interest… which will make you want to go and read the paper; go on you know you want to!
Any way… The Dinosauria (Aves Excepted), Pterosaurs and Marine Reptiles, Coccolithophores etcetera met their demise at the hands of an Asteroid… until the next paper comes out with some new but contrary evidence!
IN OTHER NEWS:
There’s a new paper out in Science about the Snowball Earth Hypothesis (Kerr, 2010)… I haven’t read it, but you might find it interesting.
Here is the reason why your university lecturers insist on you using scientific journals and search engines such as Scopus or GeoRef…
Anywho, I’m now off for dinner and a kip.
Short-link for this post: http://wp.me/pFUij-1o
Glasby, G.P. and Kunzendorf, H. (1996), Multiple factors in the origin of the Cretaceous/Tertiary boundary: the role of environmental stress and Deccan Trap volcanism in Geologische Rundschau Vol. 85, issue 2, pp.191-210. [DOI: 10.1007/BF02422228] [ONLINE] Available: http://www.springerlink.com/content/v335477328613407 (Accessed 10/03/2010)
Kerr, R.A (2010), Snowball Earth Has Melted Back To a Profound Wintry Mix in Science vol. 327, issue. 5970, pp.1186, [DOI: 10.1126/science.327.5970.1186] [ONLINE] Available: http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/327/5970/1186 (Accessed: 10/03/2010)
Schulte. P, et al. (2010), The Chicxulub Asteroid Impact and Mass Extinction at the Cretaceous-Paleogene Boundary, in Science 327 (5970), 1214. [DOI: 10.1126/science.1177265] [ONLINE] Available: http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/citmgr?gca=sci;327/5970/1214 (Accessed 10/03/10)
BBC Article: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/8550504.stm