K‐Pg extinction: Reevaluation of the heat‐fire hypothesis

  title={K‐Pg extinction: Reevaluation of the heat‐fire hypothesis},
  author={Douglas Robertson and William M. Lewis and Peter M. F. Sheehan and Owen Brian Toon},
  journal={Journal of Geophysical Research: Biogeosciences},
  pages={329 - 336}
The global debris layer created by the end‐Cretaceous impact at Chicxulub contained enough soot to indicate that the entire terrestrial biosphere had burned. Preliminary modeling showed that the reentry of ejecta would have caused a global infrared (IR) pulse sufficient to ignite global fires within a few hours of the Chicxulub impact. This heat pulse and subsequent fires explain the terrestrial survival patterns in the earliest Paleocene, because all the surviving species were plausibly able… 
Revisiting wildfires at the K‐Pg boundary
The discovery of large amounts of soot in clays deposited at the Cretaceous‐Paleogene (K‐Pg) boundary and linked to the ~65 Ma Chicxulub impact crater led to the hypothesis that major wildfires were
Organic matter from the Chicxulub crater exacerbated the K–Pg impact winter
Characteristics of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in the Chicxulub crater sediments and at two deep ocean sites indicate a fossil carbon source that experienced rapid heating, consistent with organic matter ejected during the formation of the crater, and size distributions proximal and distal to the crater indicate the ejected carbon was dispersed globally by atmospheric processes.
An experimental assessment of the ignition of forest fuels by the thermal pulse generated by the Cretaceous–Palaeogene impact at Chicxulub
A large extraterrestrial body hit the Yucatán Peninsula at the end of the Cretaceous period. Models suggest that a substantial amount of thermal radiation was delivered to the Earth’s surface by the
On transient climate change at the Cretaceous−Paleogene boundary due to atmospheric soot injections
The effects of a worldwide layer of soot found at the Cretaceous−Paleogene boundary is explored and it is found that it causes near-total darkness that shuts down photosynthesis, produces severe cooling at the surface and in the oceans, and leads to moistening and warming of the stratosphere that drives extreme ozone destruction.
Mass Extinction at the Cretaceous–Paleogene (K–Pg) Boundary
  • T. Maruoka
  • Environmental Science, Geography
  • 2019
One of the “Big Five” mass extinctions in the Phanerozoic Eon occurred at the Cretaceous–Paleogene (K–Pg) boundary (66.0 million years ago). The K–Pg mass extinction was triggered by a meteorite
Global climate change driven by soot at the K-Pg boundary as the cause of the mass extinction
It is shown that the stratospheric aerosols did not induce darkness that resulted in milder cooling than previously thought, which would explain the known mortality and survival on land and in oceans at the Cretaceous/Paleogene boundary.
Postimpact earliest Paleogene warming shown by fish debris oxygen isotopes (El Kef, Tunisia)
Analysis of oxygen isotopic composition of fish debris, phosphatic microfossils that are relatively resistant to diagenetic alteration, from the Global Stratotype Section and Point for the Cretaceous/Paleogene boundary at El Kef, Tunisia reports an ~1 per mil decrease in oxygen isotopy values beginning at the boundary and spanning ~300 centimeters of section, which matches expectations for impact-initiated greenhouse warming.
On the causes of mass extinctions
Causes and Climatic Consequences of the Impact Winter at the Cretaceous‐Paleogene Boundary
Prolonged periods of low light and cold temperatures at Earth's surface are hypothesized effects of the end‐Cretaceous asteroid impact. However, debate remains about the causes and consequences of
Widespread and intense wildfires at the Paleocene-Eocene boundary
doi: 10.7185/geochemlet.1906 Discovery of impact spherules associated with the onset of the Carbon Isotope Excursion (CIE) that marks the Paleocene-Eocene (P-E) boundary (~56 Ma) indicates that the


The Chicxulub Asteroid Impact and Mass Extinction at the Cretaceous-Paleogene Boundary
Records of the global stratigraphy across this boundary are synthesized to assess the proposed causes of the Cretaceous-Paleogene boundary and conclude that the Chicxulub impact triggered the mass extinction.
Combustion of fossil organic matter at the Cretaceous-Paleogene (K-P) boundary
Recognition of elevated concentrations of aciniform soot in Cretaceous-Paleogene (K-P) boundary sediments worldwide led to the hypothesis that global-scale forest wildfires could have been generated
Organic geochemical evidence for global fires at the Cretaceous/Tertiary boundary
MANY hypotheses have been advanced to explain the mass extinction at the Cretaceous/Tertiary (K/T) boundary1–3. Recently, Wolbach et al. 4 suggested that massive forest fires were triggered by the
Cretaceous Extinctions: Evidence for Wildfires and Search for Meteoritic Material
Clay samples from three Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary sites contain a worldwide layer of soot, suggesting that soot production by large wildfires is about 10 times more efficient that has been assumed for a nuclear winter.
Fireball passes and nothing burns—The role of thermal radiation in the Cretaceous-Tertiary event: Evidence from the charcoal record of North America
High soot contents have been reported in Cretaceous-Tertiary (K-T) sedimentary rocks, leading to the suggestion that the amount of thermal power delivered from the Chicxulub impact was sufficient to
Reigniting the Cretaceous-Palaeogene firestorm debate
might have offered places of refuge for organisms at greater distances from the impact. Kring and Durda (2002) explored such regional effects by modeling the trajectories of the low- and high-energy
Ignition of global wildfires at the Cretaceous/Tertiary boundary
It is shown that the thermal radiation produced by the ballistic re-entry of ejecta condensed from the vapour plume of the impact could have increased the global radiation flux by factors of 50 to 150 times the solar input for periods ranging from one to several hours.
Constraints on the thermal energy released from the Chicxulub impactor: new evidence from multi-method charcoal analysis
It has been suggested by various workers that an extraterrestrial impact at the K–T boundary delivered sufficient thermal power to ignite globally extensive wildfires. Numerous models have sought to
Geochemical evidence for combustion of hydrocarbons during the K-T impact event
It is revealed that the K-T BIRs have a pPAH signature consistent with the combustion of hydrocarbons and not living plant biomass, providing further evidence against K- T wildfires and compelling evidence that a significant volume of hydroCarbons was combusted during theK-T impact event.
Survival in the first hours of the Cenozoic
For several hours following the Chicxulub impact, the entire Earth was bathed with intense infrared radiation from ballistically reentering ejecta. The global heat pulse would have killed unsheltered