Last week was the Volcanism, Impacts and Mass Extinctions conference at the Natural History Museum, London. The first event under this name, it lasted three days, each packed with dozens of lectures and plenty of discussion, and brought together nearly all the main players in the field of mass extinction research. It was exciting as this field of research is often fraught with disagreements over boundary distinctions and predominant causes of extinction – you just have to go back to the whole Alvarez thing to see how difficult it first was to acknowledge that impacts could even cause an extinction, and more recently to Courtillot to see how difficult it has been to accept the role of flood basalts. Discussions are bound to get exciting, and in this aspect the conference really didn’t let me down. I am hoping to see this conference return in two years’ time.
Before I lay out what the haps were (because that section is long and requires much scrolling) I will briefly announce that I met many of my geo-heroes at this conference.
I met Gerta Keller (the event organiser) and Tony Hallam, saw Mike Benton but sadly didn’t have the chance to chat, and ran into Paul Wignall again. I also met so many cool people who answered loads of questions I had about my final year dissertation. Ace!
@DaisysGeology and I were there (along with a few other tweeps) and we livetweeted the entire event. Below follows the Storify of our report, which should provide some interesting insight into the field of mass extinction research. (NOTE: if you don’t want to scroll endlessly like it’s a tumblr blog, click on the Storify icon. Otherwise, proceed.)