Abstract

A continuous, subsurface Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary section, including the boundary clay within an 87 cm thick lignite, has been recovered from a core hole near Wood Mountain, Saskatchewan, Canada. The lignite-encompassed clay layer with geochemical anomaly indicates that peat deposition was continuous across the boundary. Core data indicate that, locally, a pre-boundary, conifer-dominated swamp was abruptly replaced by an angiosperm-dominated, herbaceous wetland. Sudden extermination of the dominant forest elements indicates mass kill at the level of the boundary and supports the theory of extraterrestrial impact accompanied by catastrophic destruction. Devastation of the standing vegetation may have been caused by one or more of the killing agents predicted to have accompanied impact, including freezing temperatures caused by atmospheric dust, acid rain, thermal pulse, and shock waves. There is no evidence supporting wildfires as a killing agent. Vegetational change apparent within the boundary interval is consistent with observations elsewhere in the Western Interior of North America of abrupt replacement of an ecosystem. Early Paleocene reestablishment of the cypress swamp vegetation is calculated to have taken from 1 to 5 millennia.

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