Controversies in the Earth Sciences

Additional resources


Resources on the web:

Keeping an Eye on Space Rocks: this is an interactive flash movie made by Caltech's JPL about monitoring asteroids and comets close to Earth.

Map Tunneling Tool: this is an interactive web site that helps you locate the antipode of any point on Earth.

Further reading about other extinctions and impacts

Check out these readings if you are interested in other extinction events and/or other impact events. Note: I didn't put any of these readings in our course reserves, but as a PSU student you have access to the PSU libraries, which contain all of these articles. To find out how to get access to them, see Services and Information for Off-Campus Users.

Mammoth extinction (13 ka)

  • Dalton, 2007, Blast in the Past?, Nature, 447, 256–7.
  • "It came like yesterday", The Economist, 24 May 2007.

Popigai, Siberia crater (35.7 Ma)

  • Bottomley et al., 1997. The age of the Popigai impact event and its relation to events at the Eocene/Oligocene boundary, Nature 388, 365–368.
  • Stöffler and Claeys, 1997. Earth rocked by combination punch, Nature 388, 331–332.

End of Triassic extinction (206 mya)

  • Bice et al., 1992, Shocked Quartz at the Triassic-Jurassic Boundary in Italy, Science, 255, 443–446.
  • "The Big Heat", The Economist, 26 Aug, 1999.
  • McElwain et al., 1999. Fossil Plants and Global Warming at the Triassic-Jurassic Boundary, Science 285, p. 1386–90.
  • Marzoli et al., 1999. Extensive 200-Million-Year-Old Continental Flood Basalts of the Central Atlantic Magmatic Province Science 284, 616–618.

More Permian/Triassic extinction (250 mya)

  • Kaiho, K., et al. (2001). End-Permian catastrophe by a bolide impact; evidence of a gigantic release of sulfur from the mantle. Geology, 29(9), 815–818.
  • Geological Society of America. (2001, August 28). Permian Extraterrestrial Impact Caused Largest Mass Extinction On Earth. ScienceDaily. Retrieved May 30, 2008, from
  • Koeberl, C., Gilmour, I., Reimold, W. U., Claeys, P., & Ivanov, B. (2002). End-Permian catastrophe by bolide impact: Evidence of a gigantic release of sulfur from the mantle: Comment and Reply: COMMENT. Geology, 30(9), 855–856. doi: 10.1130/0091-7613(2002)030<0855:EPCBBI>2.0.CO;2.
  • Kaiho, K., Kajiwara, Y., & Miura, Y. (2002). End-Permian catastrophe by bolide impact: Evidence of a gigantic release of sulfur from the mantle: Comment and Reply: REPLY. Geology, 30(9), 856. doi: 10.1130/0091-7613(2002)030<0856:>2.0.CO;2.


  • Phipps Morgan et al., 2004. Contemporaneous mass extinctions, continental flood basalts, and ‘impact signals’: are mantle plume-induced lithospheric gas explosions the causal link? Earth Plan Sci Lett, 217, 263–284.

Extinction recoveries

  • Payne, et al., 2004, Large Perturbations of the Carbon Cycle During Recovery from the End-Permian Extinction, Science 305, 506–509.

Asteroid 2008 TC3, which hit the Earth in October 2008

  • Kwok, R. 2009, The Rock that Fell to Earth, Nature 458, 401-403.

Tell me about it!

Have another reading or Web site on these topics that you have found useful? Share it in the Questions? discussion forum!