April 29-30 symposium explores mystery of dinosaurs’ death

ATTENTION: Reporters covering science

WHAT: A two-day symposium, “What Killed the Dinosaurs: A Fresh Look at One of Earth’s Greatest Mysteries,” featuring some of the world’s top experts on the mass extinction 66 million years ago and the geological and astronomical events that may have caused it. A major goal of the symposium is to identify what is needed to finally resolve a decades-old debate about whether an asteroid or comet impact, massive volcanic eruptions or both were responsible.

WHEN: Saturday and Sunday, April 29 and 30, 2017

WHERE: The Faculty Club on the campus of the University of California, Berkeley.

WHO: Speakers include UC Berkeley geologist Walter Alvarez, one of the scientists who first proposed that an asteroid or comet slammed into Earth and killed off the dinosaurs and much of Earth’s life, as well as dinosaur experts, paleontologists, geologists, geophysicists and volcanologists. Among them are:

  • Jan Smit, Free University of Amsterdam, who studies the Chicxulub crater off the coast of Yucatan, where a massive asteroid struck just before the extinction;
  • David Evans, Royal Ontario Museum and University of Toronto, an expert on dinosaur evolution prior to the extinction;
  • Paul Renne, Berkeley Geochronology Center and UC Berkeley, who has provided the best dates so far of the asteroid impact and massive lava flows that are thought to have caused the extinction;
  • Mark Richards, UC Berkeley, who has proposed that the asteroid or comet impact reignited massive volcanism on the opposite side of the world, providing the one-two punch that caused the extinction.

DETAILS: The two-day symposium, organized by the Berkeley Geochronology Center and UC Berkeley, will probe what is known and not known about why the dinosaurs and many other organisms became extinct at the end of the Cretaceous Period, the so-called Cretaceous-Paleogene, or K-Pg, boundary.

A complete program is available online.

MEDIA who would like to attend should contact Robert Sanders, UC Berkeley Media Relations: rlsanders@berkeley.edu.