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The meaning of meteorites

RAS public lecture, 10 February 2015

by Dr Ted Nield, Geoscientist Magazine

Incoming! - learning to love the dreaded thunderstone

Thousands of tonnes of meteoritic material lands on Earth every day, mostly unnoticed. Occasionally in Earth history, very large impacts occur and can have a dramatic effect on the history of life. However, despite what most people think they know about the end-Cretaceous extinction, dinosaurs were not destroyed by a single cause, and large meteorites may not always be harmful to life. Ted Nield surveys the ways impacts have influenced life on Earth, and suggests that, as with ideas, meteorites have 'timeliness', because the effect of any single cause, in human as in Earth history, is controlled largely by the context in which it occurs.