Periodic impact cratering and extinction events over the last 260 million years

Michael R. Rampino, Ken Caldeira

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

The claims of periodicity in impact cratering and biological extinction events are controversial. Anewly revised record of dated impact craters has been analyzed for periodicity, and compared with the record of extinctions over the past 260 Myr. A digital circular spectral analysis of 37 crater ages (ranging in age from 15 to 254 Myr ago) yielded evidence for a significant 25.8 ± 0.6 Myr cycle. Using the same method, we found a significant 27.0 ± 0.7 Myr cycle in the dates of the eight recognized marine extinction events over the same period. The cycles detected in impacts and extinctions have a similar phase. The impact crater dataset shows 11 apparent peaks in the last 260 Myr, at least 5 of which correlate closely with significant extinction peaks. These results suggest that the hypothesis of periodic impacts and extinction events is still viable.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3480-3484
Number of pages5
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Volume454
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - 2015

Keywords

  • Comets: general
  • Earth
  • Meteorites
  • Meteoroids
  • Meteors
  • Planets and satellites: surfaces

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science

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