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Re: extinction

Response to David Marjanovic's post of Thu, 08 Jan 2004 12:08:43 (below the dashed line).

Perceptive questions, David, and I'll do my best to respond to them.

The longer I research the K-T extinctions, the more I despair that much of anything will be "proven" concerning cause of the extinctions for long into the future. The reason is that nearly every aspect of the K-T geobiological record is controversial. Many new multidisciplinary data, and interpretations that most scientists agree upon, are requisite to meaningful progress in discovering the actual cause(s) of the extinctions.

Your point on transport of iridium is one such controversial topic. I recall how at the first Snowbird I extinctions conference in 1981, the impactors claimed that iridium was refractory. Later, they had iridium migrating to where it best served their purposes. So, individual multiple "spikes" in place, or enrichments via migration of the iridium? Based on my communications with other scientists down through the years, I prefer to think of individual spikes in place. But, others feel differently.

Just because scientific papers are several years old does not invalidate them unless they have been shown to be incorrect. Nor, does it excuse scientists for ignoring the data and interpretations in them.

Dewey McLean


In fact, multiple iridium spikes do occur at localities other than China.

 Hm. These are still rather few -- though the wide geographic distribution
 could mean something --, so that, without knowing the local sedimentologies,
 I wonder if some bioturbation and groundwater percolation could have
 multiplied the peaks or at least smeared them out. It's also interesting
 that all 3 papers are quite old. Is there a reason why this topic has
 seemingly disappeared from the literature?