Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Cosmic Impacts Implicated In Both The Rise And Fall Of Dinosaurs

Date:
May 20, 2002
Source:
Rutgers, The State University Of New Jersey
Summary:
New abilities to detect layers of "space dust" in the earth's crust are building geological evidence that comets or asteroids colliding with earth not only helped wipe out the dinosaurs, but may have originally helped bring them to prominence about 200 million years ago.

NEW BRUNSWICK/PISCATAWAY, N.J. – New abilities to detect layers of "space dust" in the earth's crust are building geological evidence that comets or asteroids colliding with earth not only helped wipe out the dinosaurs, but may have originally helped bring them to prominence about 200 million years ago. Dennis V. Kent, Rutgers geology professor, was among a team of geologists who analyzed footprints, bones and plant spores in more than 70 locations in eastern North America, as well as iridium dust and magnetic fields in four corresponding sediment layers in the Newark Basin. The team published its findings, "Ascent of Dinosaurs Linked to an Iridium Anomaly at the Triassic-Jurassic Boundary," in the May 17 edition of the journal Science.

"Finding the element iridium, which is common in space objects, creates a time marker for comet or asteroid impacts." said Kent. "Correlating the finds with evidence of plant and animal life helps to tell us what happened."

Using high-resolution mass spectrometry technology provided by Christian Koeberl of the University of Vienna in Austria, the scientists were able to make unprecedented comparisons of iridium levels in the parts-per-trillion range. Earlier attempts to find an iridium "spike" at the boundary between the Triassic and Jurassic periods had been hampered because the spectrometry equipment, which identifies materials by comparing their mass, was not sensitive enough.

Kent said another important find was a thin zone in the sediment, just below the Triassic-Jurassic boundary, where the magnetic field is reversed. This reverse zone can now serve as a marker to help identify the boundary location in the geological record.

"Our research adds to the speculation that there was a comet or asteroid impact about 200 million years ago, followed relatively quickly by the rising dominance of dinosaur populations of the Jurassic period," said Kent. He suggested that the effects of the impact killed off or reduced many competitive species, clearing the way for dinosaurs to adapt and flourish.

"Dinosaurs went on to dominate for the next 135 million years," he said, noting that their extinction is now commonly attributed to the ecological effects of yet another comet or asteroid impact – this one about 65 million years ago.

Besides his work at Rutgers, Kent is associated with the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University, as are his co-authors E.C. Rainforth and P.E. Olsen. Olsen's earlier research about Triassic-Jurassic transitions inspired the project. Other co-authors include Koeberl and H. Huber of the University of Vienna, H.-D. Sues of the Royal Ontario Museum, A. Montanari of the Osservatorio Geologio do Coldigiocom in Italy, S.J. Fowell of the University of Alaska-Fairbanks, and M.J. Szajna and B.W. Hartline, fossil collectors of Reading, Pa.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Rutgers, The State University Of New Jersey. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Rutgers, The State University Of New Jersey. "Cosmic Impacts Implicated In Both The Rise And Fall Of Dinosaurs." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 20 May 2002. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/05/020517080716.htm>.
Rutgers, The State University Of New Jersey. (2002, May 20). Cosmic Impacts Implicated In Both The Rise And Fall Of Dinosaurs. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 18, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/05/020517080716.htm
Rutgers, The State University Of New Jersey. "Cosmic Impacts Implicated In Both The Rise And Fall Of Dinosaurs." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/05/020517080716.htm (accessed September 18, 2014).

Share This



More Fossils & Ruins News

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Egypt Denies Claims Oldest Pyramid Damaged in Restoration

Egypt Denies Claims Oldest Pyramid Damaged in Restoration

AFP (Sep. 17, 2014) Egypt's antiquities minister denied Tuesday claims that the Djoser pyramid, the country's first, had been damaged during restoration work by a company accused of being unqualified to do such work. Duration: 00:56 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
King Richard III's Painful Cause Of Death Revealed

King Richard III's Painful Cause Of Death Revealed

Newsy (Sep. 17, 2014) King Richard III died in the Battle of Bosworth in 1485, and now researchers examining his skull think they know how. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Researchers Explore Shipwrecks Off Calif. Coast

Researchers Explore Shipwrecks Off Calif. Coast

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) Federal researchers are exploring more than a dozen underwater sites where they believe ships sank in the treacherous waters west of San Francisco in the decades following the Gold Rush. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Museum Traces Fragments of Star-Spangled Banner

Museum Traces Fragments of Star-Spangled Banner

AP (Sep. 12, 2014) As the Star-Spangled Banner celebrates its bicentennial, Smithsonian curators are still uncovering fragments of the original flag that inspired Francis Scott Key's poem. (Sept. 12) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins