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The Nature Park Styrian Eisenwurzen

Source: Source:EGN Website Published:May 26,2009

International Geological Workshop in the Nature Park Styrian Eisenwurzen, European Geopark and UNESCO Geopark

An International Workshop on rapid geological changes in the Cretaceous and the Palaeogene was held from 25-28 April 2009 in the community of Gams in the Nature Park. During Late Cretaceous, the long-lasting warm period, generally known as Super Greenhouse” came to an end. The sediments and their fossil content provide evidence for significant changes in life conditions which finally have led to mass extinctions. 41 scientists from 14 countries, among them Russia, the US and Canada have come to the small Styrian village to discuss the causes of these catastrophic events

Gams has been chosen for this workshop because of its outcrops of the boundary between the Cretaceous and the Palaeogene, better known as K/T boundary. Since the Nobel Price Winner for Physic, Luis Alvarez, has explained the mass extinction of species by the impact of a meteorite of about 10 km in diameter, the boundary was studied at Gams by various working groups in great detail. In contrast to Alvarez´ theory, other scientists interpret the findings at Gams by gigantic volcanic eruptions. They argue that large quantities of volcanic aerosols have spread over the earth. High contents of arsenic and heavy metals have supposedly caused the extinction of biota, among others that of dinosaurs. At the workshop, a new scientific publication on the K/T Boundary of Gams has been presented (Abhandlungen der Geologischen Bundesanstalt, vol. 63, 199 pp.). Further, a volume with abstracts and field guides has been published (Berichte der Geologischen Bundesanstalt, vol. 78, 74pp.)

In the frame of the Nature Park´s “Festival of Geology” Michael Wagreich, one of the convenors of the workshop, gave a public lecture in the community of Gams on the results of the workshop”. This lecture was attended by a large auditorium and ended in a lively discussion.