Dino-killing asteroid signs sought in Springs
Johnson talk is 2nd of 3 in Garden of the Gods Foundation series
Don't be alarmed, Westsiders. No space rocks underly this side of town.
They may be nearby, though. Kirk Johnson, chief curator of paleontology at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, said at a lecture April 25 that Pulpit Rock Open Space (east of I-25 near Rockrimmon Boulevard) is one place he and associates plan to dig this summer in search of what's known as the “K/T Boundary.”
The “K” in the name is from the German spelling of “Cretaceous,” which was the last period of the dinosaurs. The “T” stands for “Tertiary,” the first period of mammal dominance. Existing all over the world but hard to find, the boundary is a narrow rock band, which includes materials from a 6-mile-diameter asteriod that slammed into what is now the Yucatan Peninsula 65 million years ago at about 20,000 mph, Johnson explained.
The impact was an environmental disaster, causing a superheating of the atmosphere, the incineration of vast swaths of terrain and the end of the era of giant dinosaurs who had roamed the Earth for 150 million years. In their wake, mammals no bigger than raccoons became the dominant life form on land, he said.
Johnson illustrated his talk with maps, photographs and specially commissioned art depictions. One map showed his previous K/T findings north and east of here. These form a semicircle whose southern end points to the Colorado Springs area, he told an audience of more than 50 people at Slocum Commons at Colorado College.
He also plans to look for the boundary in Jimmy Camp Creek Park southeast of Colorado Springs, he said.
The Garden of the Gods and other areas of the Westside sit on top of rock formations that preceded K/T, Johnson noted.
Final 'Decade' talk... Johnson's presentation was the second in the Decade of Discovery lecture series sponsored by the Garden of the Gods Foundation as part of continuing fund-raising events this year for restoration of the Garden. The third and last of the series will be Monday, May 2, at 7 p.m. at Colorado College's Slocum Commons. Jim Ebersole, the Colorado College Biology Depart-ment's co-chair, is to talk about the Garden's ecology and strategies for restoring it.
Admission is free, although donations to the foundation are requested.
Next Garden fund raiser… Free gifts related to the number “10” will be given to people coming to the Garden of the Gods Visitor & Nature Center Saturday, May 7 and Sunday, May 8 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The center, which gives a portion of its earnings to the Garden of the Gods Foundation, is at the east entrance to Garden of the Gods Park.
The event is in conjunction with the 10th anniversary of both the Visitor Center and the foundation.
For more information, call 219-0101.
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