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Vegetation, climatic and floral changes at the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary

January 1, 1986

he western interior of North America has the only known non-marine sections that contain the iridium-rich clay interpreted as the Cretaceous-Tertiary (K-T) boundary1-7. Because vegetation and climate can be directly inferred from physiognomy of leaves8-15 and because leaf species typically represent low taxonomic categories, studies of leaf floras in these sections provide data on the effects of a terminal Cretaceous event on the land flora, vegetation and climate. A previous study based on detailed sampling of leaves and their dispersed cuticle16 in the Raton Basin provides a framework for interpretation of other leaf sequences over 20 degrees of latitude. We conclude that at the boundary there were: (1) High levels of extinction in the south and low levels in the north; (2) major ecological disruption followed by long-term vegetational changes that mimicked normal ecological succession; (3) a major increase in precipitation; and (4) a brief, low-temperature excursion, which supports models of an 'impact winter'. ?? 1986 Nature Publishing Group.

Publication Year 1986
Title Vegetation, climatic and floral changes at the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary
DOI 10.1038/324148a0
Authors J. A. Wolfe, G.R. Upchurch
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Nature
Index ID 70014490
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse