Fullerenes in the Cretaceous-Tertiary Boundary Layer

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Science  29 Jul 1994:
Vol. 265, Issue 5172, pp. 645-647
DOI: 10.1126/science.265.5172.645


High-pressure liquid chromatography with ultraviolet-visible spectral analysis of toluene extracts of samples from two Cretaceous-Tertiary (K-T) boundary sites in New Zealand has revealed the presence of C60 at concentrations of 0.1 to 0.2 parts per million of the associated soot. This technique verified also that fullerenes are produced in similar amounts in the soots of common flames under ambient atmospheric conditions. Therefore, the C60 in the K-T boundary layer may have originated in the extensive wildfires that were associated with the cataclysmic impact event that terminated the Mezozoic era about 65 million years ago.