An independent evaluation of the Younger Dryas extraterrestrial impact hypothesis

Todd A. Surovell, Vance T. Holliday, Joseph A.M. Gingerich, Caroline Ketron, C. Vance Haynes, Ilene Hilman, Daniel P. Wagner, Eileen Johnson, Philippe Claeys

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

107 Scopus citations


Based on elevated concentrations of a set of "impact markers" at the onset of the Younger Dryas stadial from sedimentary contexts across North America, Firestone, Kennett, West, and others have argued that 12.9 ka the Earth experienced an impact by an extraterrestrial body, an event that had devastating ecological consequences for humans, plants, and animals in the New World [Firestone RB, et al. (2007) Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 104:16016-16021]. Herein, we report the results of an independent analysis of magnetic minerals and microspherules from seven sites of similar age, including two examined by Firestone et al. We were unable to reproduce any results of the Firestone et al. study and find no support for Younger Dryas extraterrestrial impact.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)18155-18158
Number of pages4
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number43
StatePublished - 2009


  • Clovis
  • Magnetic grains
  • Magnetic microspherules
  • Pleistocene extinctions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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