Cover

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Title page, Copyright

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Contents

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pp. v-ix

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Foreword

W. A. Berggren

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pp. x-xi

In June of 1974, the Graduate Education Program of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution sponsored a week-long symposium entitled Organisms and Continents Through Time. The symposium was primarily organized for the sake of acquainting the graduate students at Woods Hole with current research in this area, and it was run in an informal ...

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Introduction

John A. Van Couvering

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pp. 3-6

The papers in this volume are intended to involve the reader in the cur rent reappraisal of uniformitarianism that is radicalizing geology. We have not attempted to review the dialogue in every subdiscipline of earth history, because such a review would necessarily be little more than a piecemeal study of the momentum (some might say "inertia") of special ...

Part I. The Concept of Catastrophe as a Natural Agent

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1. Toward the Vindication of Punctuational Change

Stephen Jay Gould

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pp. 9-34

The sanctified writings of a profession are often among the most misunderstood, largely because so few people read them. Sir Charles Lyell's Principles of Geology (1830-1833) rests prominently among such works. Most geologists revere it as a painstaking, scrupulously objective, empirical catalogue that established their calling by demonstrating the power of ...

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2. Perfection, Continuity, and Common Sense in Historical Geology

Richard H. Benson

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pp. 35-76

This paper is about how most geologists—and paleontologists who are trained basically as geologists—regard the passage of events recorded in historical geology. It examines the difference between the analytical consequences of those who follow the style of the pragmatic essentialists (individuals such as George Cuvier, who sought the intrinsic order in nature by attempting to define its perfection and thereby concluded that there were interruptions...

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3. Reflections on the "Rare Event" and Related Concepts in Geology

Peter E. Gretener

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pp. 77-90

The human lifespan is a poor yardstick by which to assess geological time spans. In particular, episodic events with a low frequency of occurrence tend to be neglected by this approach. "The present is the key to the past" (italics mine) is a statement that reflects the arrogant attitude of the new comer, Homo sapiens. Nobody will dispute the fact that the study of the ...

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4. The Stratigraphic Code and What It Implies

Derek V. Ager

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pp. 91-100

When the above title was wished on me, the first thing I noted was that the adjective "stratigraphic" sounded so ugly in comparison to the equiv alent in the Queen's English, "stratigraphical." I, therefore, presumed that "stratigraphic code" (sic) must mean the American (that is, the United States of America) code, which has also come to mean the "Inter ...

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5. Statistical Sedimentation and Magnetic Polarity Stratigraphy

Charles R. Denham

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pp. 101-112

Magnetic polarity zonation is now being widely used in the study of fossil vertebrate chronology within continental sedimentary deposits (for ex ample, Johnson et al., 1975; Butler et al., 1977). Hiatuses and variable rates of sediment accumulation can easily disrupt the expected magnetic polarity pattern and lead to either uncertain or invalid stratigraphic cor ...

Part II. The Cretaceous/Tertiary Boundary: A Case in Point

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6. Mass Extinction: Unique or Recurrent Causes?

Norman D. Newell

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pp. 115-128

Extinction is a normal and continuing aspect of competition and replacement in organism communities; hence, it must be regarded as an essential component of organic evolution.' However, the world demise of ecologically diverse members of a biota-such as the extinctions toward the end of the Cretaceous period-naturally calls to mind some overriding ...

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7. THE TWO PHANEROZOIC SUPERCYCLES

Alfred G. Fischer

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pp. 129-150

The philosophy of historical geology, swept 150 years ago by Lyell's acrocentric viewpoint, has since then undergone a progressive change: in one field of geology after another, an explanation of individual geological events on an "actualistic" basis adds up to a history in which the outer earth has deviated markedly in state and behavior from the one in which ...

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8. The Fabric of Cretaceous Marine Extinctions

Erie G. Kauffman

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pp. 151-246

The "mass extinction" event at the end of the Cretaceous period is widely regarded as having been a biological catastrophe that involved the nearsynchronous global annihilation of the structurally and ecologically diverse taxa which characterized Mesozoic biotas (see, for example, Newell, 1967). This image of the event has been enhanced by a widespread Cretaceous- Tertiary boundary disconformity, as well as by representations of this extinction in simple graphic...

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9 Campanian Through Paleocene Paleotemperature and Carbon Isotope Sequence and the Cretaceous-Tertiary Boundary in the Atlantic Ocean

Anne Boersma

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pp. 247-278

The extinctions and physical-oceanographic phenomena at the Cretaceous- Tertiary boundary have elicited a vast number of astute observations from scientists for half a century. The accumulated literature documenting faunal changes among dinosaurs (Russell, 1975), marine invertebrates (Kauffman, 1973), larger foraminifera (Dilley, 1973), benthonic foraminifera (Beckman, 1960), planktonic foraminifera (Rosenkrantz and Brotzen...

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10. Changes in the Angiosperm Flora Across the Cretaceoustertiary Boundary

Leo J. Hickey

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pp. 279-314

Recent hypotheses have proposed that a universal biotic catastrophe caused by an asteroid impact (Alvarez, W. et al., 1979; Alvarez, L. W. et al., 1980a, b; Smit and Hertogen, 1980; Gagnapathy, 1980), a cometary impact (Hsu, 1980), or a supernova (Russell and Tucker, 1971) terminated the Cretaceous period. Paleontology is severely limited in its ability to specify the causes of the Cretaceous extinctions that so dramatically affected the dinosaurs...

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11. Palynological Evidence for Change in Continental Floras at the Cretaceous-Tertiary Boundary

Robert H. Tschudy

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pp. 315-338

The greater part of the evidence supporting a drastic and widespread terminal extinction at the end of the Cretaceous is from the marine realm. If indeed a catastrophic change did occur, the record from continental deposits would have coincided in severity with that from the marine record. Pollen and spores are widely disseminated by wind and water, are extremely abundant and diverse (often thousands of grains per gram of rock) and well-preserved in many continental rocks. Thus they can provide the most abundant and...

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12. Mammal Evolution Near the Cretaceous-Tertiary Boundary

J. David Archibald, William A. Clemens

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pp. 339-372

Since their discovery and recognition, dinosaurs have been viewed with fascination by laymen and scientists alike. Not the least of this fascination has been the proposed hypotheses for the causes of their extinction. Contemporaries of the dinosaurs, such as mammals, have understandably not been viewed with such wonderment. Explanations are not hard to find. Dinosaurs, mistakenly or not, seem so alien to us when compared with our modern mammalian...

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13. Terminal Cretaceous Extinctions of Large Reptiles

Dale A. Russell

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pp. 373-384

Reptiles of unusual size, by modern standards, inhabited the seas, lands, and skies of our planet during the Mesozoic Era. As we have grown more familiar with the development of the great reptiles through Cretaceous time, so has our evolutionary sophistication and our deepened interest in the enigma of their sudden disappearance. It seems that nothing in their history prior to the end of the Cretaceous presaged their imminent extinction. The fossil record of...

Part III. Catastrophic Processes in the Geological Record

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14. Low Sea Levels, Droughts, and Mammalian Extinctions

Nils-Axel Mόrner

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pp. 387-394

Cenozoic periods of drastic environmental changes and mammalian extinctions have been documented. Two major periods of changes are recognized: one beginning with the Eocene-Oligocene boundary at about 37 myr and one in the Late Miocene (Messinian) at about 5 to 6 myr. Both these periods were found to have corresponded with major sea level regressions. These changes, however, must have been caused by mechanisms that were quite different from those...

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15. Eustasy, Geoid Changes, and Multiple Geophysical Interaction

Nils-Axel Mόrner

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pp. 395-416

The effects on eustasy of geoidal changes have been discussed by Morner (1975, 1976, 1977a, 1977b, 1979a), Reyment and Morner (1977) and Newman and others (1977, 1979). The effects on eustasy of glacial mass attraction of water and of the visco-elastic response of the earth to degla-ciation have been discussed by Clark (1976), Farrell and Clark (1976) ...

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16. On Two Kinds of Rapid Faunal Turnover

S. David Webb

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pp. 417-436

From a paleontological vantage point, faunal change appears to proceed in two modes: one gradual, the other one rapid or even cataclysmic. In the gradual mode, biotic diversity remains essentially constant, and the evolutionary rates of included species are mainly horotelic or bradytelic. At times, however, this stately mode is disturbed. Then, over relatively short periods of time, major restructuring of whole biotas and tachytelic evolution of diverse...

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17. The Phanerozoic "Crisis" as Viewed from the Miocene

Richard H. Benson

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pp. 437-446

A crisis is an event in the history of a system when stress, usually originating externally, causes the alteration of its principle structures to be imminent; and through the absorption of this stress into the subsystems, the system survives (see Benson, Chapter 2, this volume). It becomes catastrophic when deformation of the reaction pathways of the subsystem forces new arrangements to be formed suddenly. The old system collapses and is replaced by...

Part IV. Catastrophes and the Real World

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18. Marine Mineral Resources and Uniformitarianism

Kenneth O. Emery

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pp. 449-465

James Hutton introduced the concept of uniformitarianism near the end of the eighteenth cenntury in his "Theory of the Earth." He included such statements as: Earth phenomena should be explicable by powers that accord with the earth's composition and are natural to it, and whose principles are known—-with no appeal to extraordinary events. The processes must be consistent with...