Dinosaurs, Diamonds, and Things from Outer Space: The Great Extinction

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Stanford University Press, 1995 - Science - 241 pages
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This text explains why most life on earth perished 65 million years ago. Intended for a broad audience, the book should also be of great interest to scientists - most of whom now agree that an object from outer space hit the earth with unimaginable force 65 million years ago. But what kind of object? Carlisle's scenario suggests that the event was a complex sequence, beginning with a nearby star turning supernova. The first effect of this on earth was the arrival of massive radiation, ten or 20 times the heat of the sun, igniting worldwide forest fires. The blast also perturbed the cloud of comets that surrounds the solar system, and some few centuries later one or more of these (loaded with interstellar diamonds) hit the earth, producing nuclear winter and causing a tremendous acidification of the oceans. Each step of this theory is backed up by evidence.
  

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Contents

The Badlands of Alberta
12
The CretaceousTertiary Boundary Around the World
47
The Solar System Vortices and Comets
65
Bolide Impacts and Vulcanism
91
Theories of the Periodicity of Extinctions
108
What Hit at the CretaceousTertiary Boundary
127
The Energetics of Impactors
148
The Search for Supernova Debris
172
Implications for Evolution
201
Readings
229
Copyright

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About the author (1995)

David Brez Carlisle is Chief Scientist of Environment Canada.

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