Are marine and nonmarine extinctions correlated?


  • Michael R. Rampino

    1. Department of Applied Science, New York University, New York
    2. NASA, Goddard Space Flight Center, Institute for Space Studies, New York
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Recent papers in Eos have debated the possible relationships between marine mass extinctions, comet showers, and volcanism [Alvarez, 1986; Officer and Grieve, 1986], and ail three might be linked [Rampino, 1987]. Moreover, as Officer and Grieve [ 1986] point out, various other causes have been suggested for given extinction events, including changes in climate, ocean circulation, and sea level fluctuations, possibly related to plate tectonics and continental positions. Also under debate is the issue of whether mass extinctions were gradual, stepped, or geologically sudden events (see, for example, Hut et al. [1987]). A missing ingredient thus far in these debates has been the record of faunal diversity of nonmarine animals. Does this show any agreement with the marine extinction record?