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Dinosaur die-out might have been second of 2 closely timed extinctions
Date:9/5/2012

at particular area has very thick sediment deposits and, for a given interval of time, might contain 10 times more sediment as the well-known Hell Creek Formation in Montana. That means scientists have much greater detail as they try to determine what was happening at the time, Tobin said.

The researchers took small surface core samples from rocks and fossils in the Antarctic sediment and used a method called magnetostratigraphy, employing known changes over time in Earth's magnetic field to determine when the fossils were deposited. The thicker sediment allowed dating to be done more precisely.

"I think the evidence we have from this location is indicative of two separate events, and also indicates that warming took place," Tobin said.

There is no direct evidence yet that the first extinction event had any effect on the second, but Tobin believes it is possible that surviving species from the first event were compromised enough that they were unable to survive the long-term environmental effects of the asteroid impact.

"It seems improbable to me that they are completely independent events," he said.


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Contact: Vince Stricherz
vinces@uw.edu
206-543-2580
University of Washington
Source:Eurekalert  

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