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Re: Extinction scenarios



Regarding a white hot atmospheric pressure wave sweeping around the world as a
result of the Chixulub impact, Brian (franczak@ntplx.net) wrote:
<While I would certainly not deign to argue the physics described above,
I do have to ask (as Peter Buchholz already has), how did *anything*
survive this doomsday scenario you've postulated? Seems to me that this
level of catastrophe would pretty much wipe the Earth clean of *all*
life, no?>
    Yeah, white heat in the air would be deadly, and if it swept ALL the way
around the Earth it would pretty much cancel all animal life above ground.
However, if the pressure wave petered out just short of 180 degrees, there
could have been one last little spot left unscathed.  Interesting to ponder
where such a refugium might have been, and who it existed for.
    I imagine a population of far-flying neornithine birds overwintering in
the Cretaceous Kerguelen Islands, deluged by rain, then experiencing the
remnant of the pulse of atmospheric pressure as an uncomfortably hot and loud
burst of excitement in an otherwise cold and dreary existence.  Later, these
birdies would repopulate the rest of the enantiornithine-less planet in their
far-flung journeys.
    Also bear in mind that a quick pulse of white hot air might have
relatively little effect beneath the surface of bodies of water, in pond mud,
in caves, in burrows, etc.  This might explain turtle and frog survival,
amongst others.
    Plants, of course, had long before learned to live with fire, and to
resprout after catastrophes.
    Tom Hopp