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Re: extinction

Response to Phil Bigelow's post of Sun, 18 Jan 2004 12:39:34.

Phil wrote concerning the Exxon group paper titled "Sequence stratigraphic setting of the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary in central Alabama," of which Peter Vail was one of the authors:

"To *describe* a section of strata doesn't not necessarily mean that the
describer *understands* what he is describing! ;-)  Keep in mind that,
prior to the discovery of the K-T iridium layer, stratigraphers didn't
have ANY experience working with world-wide chron-layers.  This means
that, prior to Alvarez et al.'s first paper, Dr. Vail had no experience
with the subject.  This is not an indictment of Vail, it's just a

The Exxon sequence stratigraphy group was perhaps the single most advanced group in existence on the topic of understanding short- and long-range stratigraphy. They operated via integration of a huge global data base from oil wells, seismic data, multidisciplinary paleontological data, stratigraphy, sedimentology, oceanography, geochemistry, paleogeography, geophysics, etc. Peter Vail directed this entire operation. He understood with splendid precision what he was doing.

For you to state that Vail does not understand how to do stratigraphy is a disgusting insult to a forefront creative, accomplished, revered, and honored, scientist who has done much for the science of geology.

Your "stratigraphers didn't have ANY experience...prior to Alvarez..." exposes a shocking ignorance of reality on your part.

Re chron-layers, recall that some K-T sections have multiple iridium spikes. Which spikes at individual localities might you correlate with spikes at other localities? Does one spike at a given locality correlate with a Maastrichtian spike at another locality, or a K-T boundary spike, or a Tertiary spike?

Phil, a simplistic recitation on your part that you _believe_ that the K-T has only one "real" spike that has been reworked is not good enough. You must back up your contention with hard data from the K-T transition geobiological record. Until you do that, your _belief_ cannot be seriously considered as a meaningful contribution to K-T science.

Dewey McLean