Eos, Transactions American Geophysical Union

Timing and duration of Mesozoic-Tertiary flood-basalt volcanism



A number of Eos articles [Courtillot and Cisowski, 1987; White, 1989] have addressed the hypothesized genetic link between flood-basalt volcanism and global faunal extinction events. This topic, and its rival paradigm [Alvarez et al.,1980]—espousing a genetic link between bolide impact and the Cretaceous/Tertiary (K/T) boundary extinction event—have drawn widespread attention, both from Earth scientists and the media. This article evaluates hypotheses linking flood-basalt volcanism to bolide impacts and global faunal extinction events. Ages cited here have been recalculated to the decay constants and isotopic abundances recommended by Steiger and Jager [1977]; errors in all ages are quoted at the 1 σ level.