Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
Evidence for the Extinction of Mammoths by an Extraterrestrial Impact Event
- Author(s): Firestone, Richard B.
- West, Allen
- et al.
At Paleo-Indian kill sites throughout North America abundant fossil evidence exists for Mammoths, dated to >11,000 rcy BP (13,000 cal yr BP), often fully articulated and partly butchered, whose remains could not have been exposed to the elements for more than a short time. They appear to be the victims of a sudden, catastrophic event. At several sites a black mat lies in direct contact with the bones. No evidence for Mammoths, or the Paleo-Indians who hunted them, is found in later sediments. We have investigated Paleo-Indian sites at Gainey, MI, Murray Springs, AZ, and Blackwater Draw, NM where we discovered a layer of abundant, rounded, ferromagnetic particles in direct contact with the Mammoth fossils. These particles can readily be extracted from the sediment with a strong permanent magnet.