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Re: asteroids and dinosaurs

Lora E. Nelson asked (4/24/96; 10:51p) about the likelihood of this
scenario, seen on a show on TV:

>"...large numbers of dinosaurs were killed in the earthquakes
>that followed the impact and implied that this played a large
>part in the extinction of the dinosaurs.  This scenario sounds
>rather unlikely to me.

It sounds unlikely to me, also.  Earthquakes don't kill many animals, or
people living out in the open (or in wooden, grass, etc. structures).
There is only one documented case of someone being "swallowed" up in an
earthquake-induced crevice, and that was because the side caved in on top
of the unfortunate soul.  The super-violent New Madrid quake series of
1811-12 also killed only a few people outright (cabins caved in, trees
fell on them), although apparently a number of Indian villages were
inundated in the area where Reelfoot Lake is today.  Some people were
reported to have gone insane during them--one person started running and
didn't quit until she dropped dead.  A whole lot of people became newly
religious--some Indians were reported to have believed that the Creator
was about to destroy them for their sins (where have I heard that

Floods, landslides, and tsunamis would have been the primary threats to
dinosaurs, and those would have affected limited areas.  I can't imagine
any reasonable scenario by which earthquakes played a part in the
ultimate extinction of the dinosaurs.

Norman R. King                                       tel:  (812) 464-1794
Department of Geosciences                            fax:  (812) 464-1960
University of Southern Indiana
8600 University Blvd.
Evansville, IN 47712                      e-mail:  nking.ucs@smtp.usi.edu