Night Comes to the Cretaceous: Comets, Craters, Controversy, and the Last Days of the Dinosaurs
What killed the dinosaurs? For more than a century, this question has been one of the greatest unsolved mysteries in science. But, in 1980, Nobel Prize-winning physicist Luis Alvarez and his son, Walter, proposed a radical answer: 65 million years ago an asteroid or comet as big as Mt. Everest slammed into the earth, raising a dust cloud vast enough to cause mass extinction. A revolutionary idea that challenged the ice-age extinction theory, the asteroid-impact theory was scorned and derided by the science community. But after years of bitter debate and intense research, an astonishing discovery was made-an immense impact crater in the Yucatán Peninsula that was identified as Ground Zero. The Alvarezes had their proof. A dramatic scientific detective story, Night Comes to the Cretaceous is a brilliant example of science at work-in the trenches, complete with passionate struggles and occasional victories.
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THE PAST AS KEY TO THE PRESENT
STONES FROM THE SKY
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65 million Alvarez theory ammonites appeared asteroid basalt bioturbation catastrophe caused Chicxulub claim clay layer colleagues comets concluded contains Deccan deposited dinosaur extinction discovery earth history ejecta eruptions evidence explosion extraterrestrial falsify Figure flood basalt forams fossil record geologists global Gubbio Hell Creek high iridium impact crater impact theory impactor iridium anomaly iridium levels iridium spike isotopic K-T boundary K-T boundary clay K-T event K-T impact km in diameter Luis Alvarez Meteor Crater meteorite impact million years ago occurred ocean Officer and Drake older original paleontologists paper peak percent period Permian-Triassic physicist plants plate tectonics predictions pro-impactors processes produced Raup and Sepkoski result reworking samples scientific scientists sea level seafloor sediments shatter cones shocked minerals shocked quartz Shoemaker Signor-Lipps effect Smit Snowbird solar system species spherules structure studied surface survived tectonics tektites terrestrial craters Tertiary tion uniformitarianism volcanic Walter Alvarez zircons