This thematic volume arose from a desire to acknowledge the pioneering contributions to mass extinction studies made by Professor Tony Hallam over the past 50 years and includes papers from several theme sessions held at the annual meeting of the Geological Society of America held in Denver in October 2013 along with other solicited contributions. They provide both a breadth of temporal coverage and also reflect the broad spectrum of earth scientists currently involved in studying these ancient crises, ranging from palaeontologists to volcanologists to earth system modellers.

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