Comet showers as a cause of mass extinctions

Piet Hut, Walter Alvarez, William P. Elder, Thor Hansen, Erle G. Kauffman, Gerta Keller, Eugene M. Shoemaker, Paul R. Weissman

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

168 Scopus citations

Abstract

If at least some mass extinctions are caused by impacts, why do they extend over intervals of one to three million years and have a partly stepwise character? The solution may be provided by multiple cometary impacts. Astronomical, geological and palaeontological evidence is consistent with a causal connection between comet showers, clusters of impact events and stepwise mass extinctions, but it is too early to tell how pervasive this relationship may be.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)118-126
Number of pages9
JournalNature
Volume329
Issue number6135
DOIs
StatePublished - 1987

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General

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    Hut, P., Alvarez, W., Elder, W. P., Hansen, T., Kauffman, E. G., Keller, G., Shoemaker, E. M., & Weissman, P. R. (1987). Comet showers as a cause of mass extinctions. Nature, 329(6135), 118-126. https://doi.org/10.1038/329118a0