Publication Abstracts

Rampino and Stothers 1998

Rampino, M.R., and R.B. Stothers, 1998: Mass extinctions, comet impacts, and the Galaxy. Highlights Astron., 11A, 246-251.

The hypothesis relating mass extinctions of life on Earth to impacts of comets whose flux is partly modulated by the dynamics of the Milky Way Galaxy contains a number of postulates that can be tested by geologic evidence and statistical analyses. In an increasing number of cases, geologic evidence for impact (widespread impact debris and/or large impact creaters) is found at times of mass extinction events, and the record of dated impact craters has been found to show a significant correlation with mass extinctions. Statistical analyses suggest that mass extinction events exhibit a periodic component of about 26 to 30 Myr, and periodicities of 30±0.5 Myr and 35±2 Myr have been extracted from sets of well-dated impact craters. The evidence is consistent with periodic or quasi-periodic showers of impactors, probably Oort Cloud comets, with an approximately 30-Myr cycle. The best explanation for these proposed quasi-periodic comet showers involves the Sun's vertical oscillation through the galactic disk, which may have a similar cycle time between crossings of the galactic plane.

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BibTeX Citation

  author={Rampino, M. R. and Stothers, R. B.},
  title={Mass extinctions, comet impacts, and the Galaxy},
  journal={Highlights of Astronomy},

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RIS Citation

ID  - ra05000n
AU  - Rampino, M. R.
AU  - Stothers, R. B.
PY  - 1998
TI  - Mass extinctions, comet impacts, and the Galaxy
JA  - Highlights Astron.
JO  - Highlights of Astronomy
VL  - 11A
SP  - 246
EP  - 251
ER  -

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