The Asteroid Impact Connection of Planetary Evolution

With Special Reference to Large Precambrian and Australian impacts

  • Andrew Y. Glikson

Part of the SpringerBriefs in Earth Sciences book series (BRIEFSEARTH)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xii
  2. Andrew Y. Glikson
    Pages 1-14
  3. Andrew Y. Glikson
    Pages 15-20
  4. Andrew Y. Glikson
    Pages 29-33
  5. Andrew Y. Glikson
    Pages 35-47
  6. Andrew Y. Glikson
    Pages 49-55
  7. Andrew Y Glikson
    Pages 67-89
  8. Andrew Y. Glikson
    Pages 91-100
  9. Andrew Y. Glikson
    Pages 101-106
  10. Andrew Y. Glikson
    Pages 121-127
  11. Andrew Y. Glikson
    Pages 137-140
  12. Back Matter
    Pages 141-149

About this book


When in 1981 Louis and Walter Alvarez, the father and son team, unearthed a tell-tale Iridium-rich sedimentary horizon at the 65 million years-old Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary at Gubbio, Italy, their find heralded a paradigm shift in the study of terrestrial evolution.  Since the 1980s the discovery and study of asteroid impact ejecta in the oldest well-preserved terrains of Western Australia and South Africa, by Don Lowe, Gary Byerly, Bruce Simonson, the author and others, and the documentation of new exposed and buried impact structures in several continents, led to a resurgence of the idea of the catastrophism theory of Cuvier, earlier largely supplanted by the uniformitarian theory of Hutton and Lyell. Several mass extinction of species events are known to have occurred in temporal proximity to large asteroid impacts, global volcanic eruptions and continental splitting. Likely links are observed between asteroid clusters and at 580 Ma, end-Devonian, end-Triassic and end-Jurassic extinctions. New discoveries of ~3.5 Ga-old impact fallout units in South Africa have led Lowe and Byerly to propose a protracted continuation of the Late Heavy Bombardment (~3.95-3.85 Ga) in the Earth-Moon system. Given the difficulty in identifying asteroid impact ejecta units and buried impact structures, it is likely new discoveries of impact signatures are in store, which would further profoundly alter models of terrestrial evolution.


Asteroid Impacts of Structures Asteroid and Astroid Impacts Catastrophism Theory Comets Crustal and Terrestrial Evolution Global Mass Extinction

Authors and affiliations

  • Andrew Y. Glikson
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Archaeology and AnthropologyAustralian National UniversityCanberraAustralia

Bibliographic information