The Chicxulub asteroid impact and mass extinction at the Cretaceous-Paleogene boundary

Journal article

Publication Details

Author(s): Kießling W
Journal: Science
Publisher: American Association for the Advancement of Science
Publication year: 2010
Volume: 327
Journal issue: 5970
Pages range: 1214-1218
ISSN: 0036-8075
eISSN: 1095-9203


The Cretaceous-Paleogene boundary ∼65.5 million years ago marks one of the three largest mass extinctions in the past 500 million years. The extinction event coincided with a large asteroid impact at Chicxulub, Mexico, and occurred within the time of Deccan flood basalt volcanism in India. Here, we synthesize records of the global stratigraphy across this boundary to assess the proposed causes of the mass extinction. Notably, a single ejecta-rich deposit compositionally linked to the Chicxulub impact is globally distributed at the Cretaceous-Paleogene boundary. The temporal match between the ejecta layer and the onset of the extinctions and the agreement of ecological patterns in the fossil record with modeled environmental perturbations (for example, darkness and cooling) lead us to conclude that the Chicxulub impact triggered the mass extinction.

FAU Authors / FAU Editors

Kießling, Wolfgang Prof. Dr.
Lehrstuhl für Paläoumwelt

Last updated on 2018-11-08 at 00:46