Case Studies in Earth & Environmental Science Journalism

K/T Boundary Extinction



Questions to Ponder and Discuss



Background information:

Glen, W., 1994. What the Impact/Volcanism/Mass-Extinction Debates are About. In: W. Glen (Ed.), The Mass Extinction Debates: How Science Works in a Crisis. Stanford University Press, Palo Alto, CA, pp. 7-38.


Scientific Papers: Impact as cause of K/T Extinction

McLaren, D. J., 1970. Presidential Address: Time, Life & Boundaries. Jour. of Paleo., 44: 801-815. (Focus on last section about the F-F boundary)

Alvarez, W., Alvarez, L. W., Asaro, F. and Michel, H. V., 1979. Experimental evidence in support of an extra-terrestrial trigger for the Cretaceous-Tertiary extinctions (abstract). EOS, 60: 734.

Alvarez, L. W., Alvarez, W., Asaro, F. and Michel, H. V., 1980. Extraterrestrial cause for the Cretaceous-Tertiary extinction. Science, 208: 1095-1108.

Smit, J. and G, K., 1981. Sanidine spherules at the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary indicate a large impact event. Nature, 292: 47-.

Bohor, B. F., Foord, E. E., Modreski, P. J. and Triplehorn, D. M., 1984. Mineralogic Evidence for an Impact Event at the Cretaceous-Tertiary Boundary. Science, 224: 867-869.

Bohor, B. F., Modreski, P. J. and Foord, E. E., 1987. Shocked quartz in the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary clays: Evidence for a global distribution. Science, 236: 705-709.

Alvarez, W., 1986. Towards a theory of impact crises. EOS, 67: 649+.


Popular Articles: Impact as cause of K/T extinction

-------------------------1979 --------------post Alvarez AGU talk --------------------------

Kates, M., 1979, Why the dinosaurs died--a new theory, Berkeley Gazette, p. 1, May 28, 1979.

Petit, C., 1979, New clue to how dinosaurs died, San Francisco Chronicle, p. 1+, May 29, 1979.

Anonymous, 1979, Dinosaurs' extinction tied to bombardment of cosmic radiation, New York Times, p. ?, May 29, 1979. (similiar to articles in many other papers, derived from AP report)

Anonymous, 1979, Bursting star blamed for dinosaurs' doom, San Mateo Times, p. ?, May 29, 1979.

Anonymous, 1979. Dinosaur demise: Extraterrestrial Source?, in Science News. June 2, 1979. p. 356.

Alexander, G., 1979, Rare metal linked to death of dinosaurs, Los Angeles Times, p. 3+, June 25, 1979.

Anonymous, 1979. Doomed Dino: Puzzling over its demise, in Time. July 16, 1979. p. ?

Asimov, I., 1979. Nearly wiped out, in American Way. November 1979. p. 10-11.

------------------ 1980 -1983 ------ post Alvarez et al Science paper ---------------------

Kerr, R. A., 1980. Asteroid Theory of Extinctions Strengthened, in Science. October 31, 1980. p. 514-517.

Davis, M., 1980. Apocalyse Then, in Discover. November 1980. p. 66-69.

Fisher, A., 1981. The World's Great Dyings, in Mosaic. March/April 1981. p. 2-10.

Asimov, I., 1981. The Noblest Metal of Them All, in The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction. March 1981. p. 129-138.

Schwartz, S., 1982. Twilight of the Dinosaurs?, in The Conservationist. September-October 1981. p. 30-34.

Sullivan, W., 1982, Mass Extinctions Increasingly Blamed on Catastrophes from the Sky, New York Times, p. C1+, January 19, 1982.

Anonymous, 1982. The Dinosaur's Day of Reckoning, in Science Now. 1982. p. 106-109.

Fisher, A., 1983. How science traced the killer asteroid, in Popular Science. February 1983. p. 36-40.

Preuss, P., 1983. Neutrons and Dinosaurs, in Bulletin of the Science Fiction Writers of America. spring 1983. p. 20-25.


Scientific Papers: Chicxulub Crater

Hildebrand, A. R. and Penfield, G. T., 1990. A buried 180-km diameter probable impact crater on the Yucatan Penninsula. EOS, 71: 1425.

Sigurdsson, H., D'Hondt, S., Arthur, M. A., Bralower, T. J., Zachos, J. C., van Fossen, M. and Channell, J. E. T., 1991. Glass from the Cretaceous/Tertiary boundary in Haiti. Nature, 349: 482-487.

Pope, K. O., Ocampo, A. C. and Duller, C. E., 1991. Mexican site for K/T impact crater? Nature, 351: 105. (May 1991)

Hildebrand, A. R., Penfield, G. T., Kring, D. A., Pilkington, M., Camargo, A., Jacobsen, S. B. and Boynton, W. v., 1991. Cicxulub Crater: A possible Cretaceous/Tertiary boundary impact crater on the Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico. Geology, 19: 867-871. (Sept 1991)

Swisher, C. C., III, Grajales-Nishimura, J. M., Montanari, A., Margolis, S. V., Claeys, P., Alvarez, W., Renne, P., Cedillo-Pardo, E., Maurrasse, F. J.-M. R., Curtis, G. H., Smit, J. and McWilliams, M. O., 1992. Coeval 40Ar/39Ar ages of 65.0 Million years ago from Chicxulub Crater melt rock and Cretaceous-Tertiary tektites. Science, 257: 954-958. (14 August 1992)

Sharpton, V. L., Dalrymple, G. B., marin, L. E., Ryder, G., Schuraytz, B. C. and Urrutia-Fucugauchi, J., 1992. New links between the Chicxulub impact structure and the Cretaceous/Tertiary boundary. Nature, 359: 819-821. (October 1992)

Alvarez, W., Smit, J., Lowrie, W., Asaro, F., Margolis, S. V., Claeys, P., Kastner, M. and Hildebrand, A. R., 1992. Proximal impact deposits at the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary in the Gulf of Mexico: A restudy of DSDP Leg 77 Sites 536 and 540. Geology, 20: 697-700.

Smit, J., Montanari, A., Swinburne, N. H. M., Alvarez, W., Hildebrand, A., Margolis, S. V., Claeys, P., Lowrie, W. and Asaro, F., 1992. Tektite bearing deep-water clastic unit at the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary in northeastern Mexico. Geology, 20: 99-103.

abstracts from Geological Society of America meeting, November 1995, session on "Impact in the Caribbean: Chicxulub"


Popular Articles: Chicxulub Crater

Kerr, R. A., 1990. Commotion over Caribbean Impacts, in Science. p. 1081. (November 1990)

Wilford, J. N., 1991, For dinosaur extinction theory, a "smoking gun", New York Times, p. ?, February 7, 1991.

Kerr, R. A., 1991. Yucatan Killer Impact Gaining Support, in Science. April, 1991. p. 377.

Jaroff, L., 1991. At last, the smoking gun?, in Time. July 1, 1991. p. 60-61.

Dietz, R. S., 1991. Demise of the Dinosaurs: A Mystery Solved, in Astronomy. July 1991. p. 30-37.

Beatty, J. K., 1991. Killer crater in the Yucatan?, in Sky & Telescope. July, 1991. p. 38-40.

Monastersky, R., 1992. Closing in on the Killer, in Sci. News. Jan. 25, 1992. p. 56-58.

Monastersky, R., 1992. Giant Crater linked to mass extinction, in Sci. News, v. 142, August 15, 1992. p. 100.

Benton, M. J. and Little, C. T. S., 1994. Impact in the Caribbean and death of the dinosaurs, in Geology Today. Nov-Dec 1994. p. 222-227.



A Sociologist's Reflections on Popular Writings about the Impact Hypothesis (and the impact of those writings)

Clemens, E. S., 1994. The impact hypothesis and popular science: Conditions and consequences of interdisciplinary debate. In: W. Glen (Ed.), The Mass Extinction Debates: How Science Works in a Crisis. Stanford University Press, Stanford, CA, pp. 92-120.


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