Mass-extinction events in Earth's history


Mass-extinction events are among the most dramatic events in the history of life on Earth. We are interested in understanding their causes, in particular how climate changes relate to the observed loss in biological diversity.

Devonian extinction events

Coming soon...

End-Triassic extinction event

Coming soon...

End-Cretaceous extinction event – end of the dinosaurs

66 million years ago, the end-Cretaceous extinction event ended the reign of the dinosaurs. We have performed coupled climate model simulations showing severe cooling due to sulfate aerosols from the Chicxulub asteroid impact at that time, see the animation below.

Download animation: Animated GIF, AVI, WEBM (with special thanks to Stefan Fuchs and Thomas Nocke)

Publications related to mass extinctions

Peer-reviewed publications

  • Brugger J., Feulner G., Petri S., 2017, Baby, it's cold outside: Climate model simulations of the effects of the asteroid impact at the end of the Cretaceous, Geophysical Research Letters, 44, 419-427 (Issue 1, 16 January 2017). doi:10.1002/2016GL072241
  • Feulner G., 2011: Limits to biodiversity cycles from a unified model of mass-extinction events, International Journal of Astrobiology, 10 (Issue 2, April 2011), 123-129. doi:10.1017/S1473550410000455 
  • Feulner G., 2009: Climate Modelling of Mass–Extinction Events: A Review, International Journal of Astrobiology, 8 (Issue 3, July 2009), 207-212. doi:10.1017/S1473550409990061


Other publications

  • Feulner G., 2009: New Insights into the Causes of Mass-Extinction Events (ESLAB 2008, Symposium 42. Cosmic Cataclysms and Life: Abstracts), International Journal of Astrobiology, (Issue 3, July 2009), 243-255.
  • Feulner G., 2009: New Insights into the Causes of Mass-Extinction Events, Origins of Life and Evolution of Biospheres - Special Issue: Abstracts from the Eighth European Workshop on Astrobiology, Neuchâtel, Switzerland, 1-3 September, 2008, 39 (No. 1, February 2009), 13.
  • Feulner G., 2008: Using Climate Models to Investigate the Cause of Mass Extinction Events. Abstracts of Session 21 "The Habitable Galaxy: Variation in Space and Time" of the Astrobiology Science Conference 2008, Astrobiology, 8 (No. 2, April 2008), 392.