Dinosaur Tomb Raider: Robert A. DePalma & Impact Evidence

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In summary, a 37-year-old curator of paleontology at the Palm Beach Museum of Natural History in Florida, as well as a graduate student at the University of Kansas, discovered and started mining a huge fossil deposit found in North Dakota in 2012. The findings include fish with small tektites in their gills (sturgeon and paddlefish), broken and burned vegetation, tektites preserved in amber (fossilized plant resin), some land dinosaurs in a disturbed layer of fine sediments and mud. Recently
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Robert A. DePalma, a 37 year old curator of paleontology at the Palm Beach Museum of Natural History, in Florida, as well as a graduate student at the University of Kansas discovered and started mining a huge fossil deposit found in North Dakota (to be published next week in PNAS) in 2012. The findings include fish with small tektites in their gills (sturgeon and paddlefish), broken and burned vegetation, tektites preserved in amber (fossilized plant resin), some land dinosaurs in a disturbed layer of fine sediments and mud.

Recently the impact events in the Yucatan have been described in a fair amount of detail.

This new yet-to-be-publication (described in stories from the NY Times, The New Yorker magazine, and a UC, Berkeley news release.

It looks like the series of events went like this:
Meteor impact in Yucatan area produces:
  • Siezmic waves
  • Mega-Tsunami in S. Gulf of Mexico,
  • much molten/vaporized rock, launched into space.
Seismic waves might be expected to get there in 10 minutes. This may have shaken up a body of freshwater, making a mud slurry, with fish and other things from land that ended up in there (sounds lke it was something like a lake that got drained).

Some of the lofted rock material started falling back to Earth (all over the world, heating up on reentry and possibly starting fires) and eventually solidifying into tektites. These were found in the dead animal mud mix and in some cases in the gills of filter feeding fish (paddlefish), indicating they were filtering them out of the water. This is though to have happened with in 45-60 minutes after the impact.

A Tsunami from the impact area (about 3,000 kilometers away) would normally take 10-12 hours to go that far. It could possibly have gotten to the area because there was an extension of the Gulf of Mexico extending north to that area (see map in NY Times pub), but it would have taken too long to match with other events. Maybe this was the cause of the last part, where a big water disturbance then buried the mud/dead animals/tektite assemble under another layer of sediment.

Over that was a top iridium containing layer, a pretty definitive marker of the K-T boundary. Iridium came from vaporized meteor.
 
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My Facebook Paleontologist friends have been all atwitter about this for the last couple of days. The BBC article looked marginally interesting, but then I read the New Yorker article.

It was a series of "WOW" moments for me.

And I'm not a paleontologist.

ps. I searched the forum yesterday, wondering if anyone was interested in such things. Apparently, the lack of "Chicxulub" boogered my search attempts.

I also made the mistake of perusing the "Earth Sciences" forum.
 
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I don't often use "Chicxulub" since its not a word I feel good about spelling.
 
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BillTre said:
I don't often use "Chicxulub" since its not a word I feel good about spelling.
I spent 10 minutes yesterday on some "How do you pronounce that?" site.
I decided you can pronounce it any way you like.

ps. After 2 days of semi-intensive study of this topic, I've decided I will never know how to spell Chicxulub, without googling it.
 
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OmCheeto said:
I spent 10 minutes yesterday on some "How do you pronounce that?" site.
I decided you can pronounce it any way you like.

ps. After 2 days of semi-intensive study of this topic, I've decided I will never know how to spell Chicxulub, without googling it.

Yes this is the sort of stuff that gets me excited
 
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No really!
 
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Related to Dinosaur Tomb Raider: Robert A. DePalma & Impact Evidence

1. What is "Dinosaur Tomb Raider: Robert A. DePalma & Impact Evidence"?

"Dinosaur Tomb Raider: Robert A. DePalma & Impact Evidence" is a scientific research project focused on the discovery of a mass death assemblage of dinosaurs and other organisms in the Hell Creek Formation in North Dakota. It is led by paleontologist Robert A. DePalma and aims to investigate the potential impact event that may have caused this mass extinction.

2. What is the significance of this discovery?

The discovery of the mass death assemblage and potential impact event in the Hell Creek Formation is significant because it provides evidence for a catastrophic event that may have played a role in the extinction of the dinosaurs. This discovery challenges the long-held belief that the dinosaurs were already in decline before the impact of a large asteroid.

3. How was this discovery made?

The discovery was made by paleontologist Robert A. DePalma during his fieldwork in the Hell Creek Formation. He noticed a layer of sediment with a high concentration of fish, plant, and dinosaur fossils, as well as evidence of a tsunami-like event. This led him to believe that the fossils were the result of a catastrophic event, possibly an asteroid impact.

4. What evidence supports the theory of an impact event?

There are several lines of evidence that support the theory of an impact event in the Hell Creek Formation. These include the presence of a high concentration of shocked quartz, a type of rock that forms when exposed to extreme pressure and heat, as well as the discovery of tiny glass beads, called tektites, which are formed during an impact event. Additionally, the fossils in the mass death assemblage show signs of rapid burial and trauma, which are consistent with an impact event.

5. What are the next steps in this research?

The next steps in this research include further analysis of the fossils and sediments in the Hell Creek Formation to gather more evidence for the impact event theory. This may include radiometric dating to determine the exact age of the fossils and the impact event, as well as studying the chemical composition of the sediments. The team also plans to continue excavating the site to uncover more evidence and potentially find more fossils that can provide insight into the impact event and its effects on the environment and organisms.

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