Send to

Choose Destination
Science. 2001 Nov 23;294(5547):1700-2.

Indication of global deforestation at the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary by New Zealand fern spike.

Author information

Department of Geology, Lund University, Tornav├Ągen 13, SE-223 63 Lund, Sweden.


The devastating effect on terrestrial plant communities of a bolide impact at the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary is shown in fossil pollen and spore assemblages by a diverse flora being abruptly replaced by one dominated by a few species of fern. Well documented in North America, this fern spike signals widespread deforestation due to an impact winter or massive wildfires. A Southern Hemisphere record of a fern spike, together with a large iridium anomaly, indicates that the devastation was truly global. Recovery of New Zealand plant communities followed a pattern consistent with major climatic perturbations occurring after an impact winter that was possibly preceded by global wildfires.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for HighWire
Loading ...
Support Center