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Press Release 13-023

Looking for a 'Smoking Gun' in Dinosaur Die-off

Scientists determine most precise dates yet for dinosaur extinction 66 million years ago

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Rock strata in northeastern Montana.

Rock strata in northeastern Montana; they span the time of the dinosaur extinction.

Credit: Berkeley Geochronology Center


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Scientist collects a sample from a coal bed near the dinosaur extinction level.

Scientist Paul Renne collects a sample from a coal bed near the dinosaur extinction level.

Credit: Berkeley Geochronology Center


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Photo of mountains and arrows indicating coal beds containing volcanic ash

Arrows indicate coal beds containing volcanic ash dated in the study.

Credit: Klaudia Kuiper


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Closeu up of sanidine crystals from the volcanic ash.

Sanidine crystals from the volcanic ash, used to date the boundary.

Credit: Berkeley Geochronology Center


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Geologist with a sample, on a mountain

Geologist Bill Mitchell with a sample; he's just above the dinosaur extinction level.

Credit: Berkeley Geochronology Center


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Cover of hte journal Science

The research team's results are described in the Feb. 8 issue of the journal Science.

Credit: Copyright AAAS 2013