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Convulsive geologic events (extraordinarily energetic events of regional influence) undeniably have occurred repeatedly throughout the history of the Earth. The influence of such events (i.e., explosive volcanic eruptions, large bolide impacts, giant mass failures, catastrophic floods, great earthquakes, large violent storms, giant tsunamis) on the sedimentary record, however, generally is poorly understood. The sedimentary products of many kinds of convulsive events are so seldom well preserved that they are of limited consequence in the depositional record. Moreover, sedimentary processes associated with convulsive events typically are poorly understood, particularly for those types of events that have not occurred within historic time. The difficulty of establishing synchroneity among the products of a large event further impedes their correct interpretation. It is likely that these factors, in combination, explain the enigma posed by the absence of recognized sedimentologic effects of the probably numerous Phanerozoic impacts of major bolides on the Earth. Parsimony demands that we attribute phenomena in the sedimentary record to the most probable explanation, and convulsive geologic events are, by nature, improbable. The recognition of the sedimentologic consequences of convulsive events poses a special challenge to sedimentary geologists. Meeting this challenge will almost certainly demonstrate that convulsive geologic events have greater relevance to the sedimentary record than has been previously recognized.

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