Impact ejecta at the Paleocene-Eocene boundary

Morgan F. Schaller, Megan K. Fung, James D. Wright, Miriam E. Katz, Dennis V. Kent

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

26 Scopus citations

Abstract

Extraterrestrial impacts have left a substantial imprint on the climate and evolutionary history of Earth. A rapid carbon cycle perturbation and global warming event about 56 million years ago at the Paleocene-Eocene (P-E) boundary (the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum) was accompanied by rapid expansions of mammals and terrestrial plants and extinctions of deep-sea benthic organisms. Here, we report the discovery of silicate glass spherules in a discrete stratigraphic layer from three marine P-E boundary sections on the Atlantic margin. Distinct characteristics identify the spherules as microtektites and microkrystites, indicating that an extraterrestrial impact occurred during the carbon isotope excursion at the P-E boundary.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)225-229
Number of pages5
JournalScience
Volume354
Issue number6309
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 14 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General

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