The Chicxulub Asteroid Impact and Mass Extinction at the Cretaceous-Paleogene Boundary

Peter Schulte, Laia Alegret, Ignacio Arenillas, Jose Arz, Peggy Barton, Paul R. Brown, Timothy J. Bralower, Gail Christeson, Philippe Claeys, Charles Cockell, Gareth Collins, Alex Deutsch, Tamara Goldin, Kazuhisa Goto, J. Manuel Grajales-Nishimura, Richard A. F. Grieve, Sean P. Gulick, Kirk Johnson, Wolfgang Kiessling, Christian KoeberlDavid Kring, Kenneth Macleod, Takafumi Matsui, Jay Melosh, Alessandro Montanari, Joanna Morgan, Clive R. Neal, Douglas J. Nichols, Richard Norris, Elisabetta Pierazzo, Greg Ravizza, Mario Rebolledo-Vieyra, Wolf Uwe Reimold, E. Robin, Tobias Salge, Robert Speijer, Arthur Sweet, Jaime Urrutia-Fugugauchi, Vivi Vajda, Michael Whalen, Pi S. Willumssen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

999 Citations (Scopus)


The Cretaceous-Paleogene boundary ~65.5 million years ago marks one of the three largest mass extinctions in the past 500 million years. The extinction event coincided with a large asteroid impact at Chicxulub, Mexico, and occurred within the time of Deccan flood basalt volcanism in India. Here, we synthesize records of the global stratigraphy across this boundary to assess the proposed causes of the mass extinction. Notably, a single ejecta-rich deposit compositionally linked to the Chicxulub impact is globally distributed at the Cretaceous-Paleogene boundary. The temporal match between the ejecta layer and the onset of the extinctions and the agreement of ecological patterns in the fossil record with modeled environmental perturbations (for example,
darkness and cooling) lead us to conclude that the Chicxulub impact triggered the mass extinction.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1214-1218
Number of pages5
Publication statusPublished - 2010


  • Impact
  • Dinosaurs
  • Crater
  • Mass extinction
  • KT boundary
  • Asteroid or comet


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