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Lyell Meeting 2018: Mass extinctions – understanding the world’s worst crises

07 March 2018
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Event type:
Organised by:
Geological Society Events, Micropalaeontological Society, Palaeontographical Society, The Palaeontological Association
The Geological Society, Burlington House
Event status:

The study of mass extinctions is one of the most interdisciplinary research areas within Earth and environmental sciences. Recent, major advances have come from a broad spectrum of fields, including atmospheric modelling, high-precision age dating, volcanology, geochemistry, stratigraphy and palaeontology.

The 2018 Lyell Meeting aimed to highlight these achievements and showcase the improved understanding we now have of the great environmental catastrophes of the past. The Meeting aimed to encompass the full spectrum of crises seen in the Phanerozoic fossil record.

The 2018 Lyell Meeting provided a platform to assess the current stratigraphic and geochemical records of environmental change during mass extinction events and the role of atmospheric climate modelling in understanding the causes of the crises. The goal was to evaluate the relative importance of environmental changes in major episodes of species extinctions, and to further explore the mechanisms that link these proximal kill mechanisms to the ultimate drivers, such as large igneous province eruptions and meteorite impacts.

This was a rare opportunity to hear research developments happening in diverse disciplines applied to all mass extinction events. 

Keynote Speakers

Prof Mike Benton (University of Bristol)

Dr Sofie Lindström (Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland)

A full programme can be downloaded from the 'Downloads' box on the right. 


Paul Wignall (University of Leeds, UK)

Dave Bond (University of Hull, UK)

Event Partners

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The functional consequences of extinctions: from giant sharks to small mollusks
Catalina Pimiento (Museum fur Naturkunde and Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute)

The Devonian mass extinction: new geochemical and geochronicalogical insights
Lawrence Percival (University of Lausanne, Switzerland)

The Terrestrial Record of the End Devonian Mass Extinction Event
John Marshall (University of Southampton, UK)

The Carnian Pluvial Episode: Carbon-cycle disruption, extinction, and LIP volcanism in the early Late Triassic
Jacopo Dal Corso (University of Leeds, UK)

Using mercury to link Large Igneous Province volcanism to environmental perturbations during the End-Triassic extinction and Early Toarcian Oceanic Anoxic Event
Tamsin Mather (University of Oxford, UK)

KEYNOTE: ‘Under the Volcano’ – environmental and biotic responses to massive volcanism during the end-Triassic mass extinction
Sofie Lindstrom (Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland)

Modelling the ecological determinants of extinction across Mesozoic hyperthermal events
Alexander Dunhill (University of Leeds, UK)

The role of ocean acidification in the marine extinctions at the Cretaceous/Paleogene boundary
Malcolm Hart (Plymouth University, UK)

KEYNOTE: Recovery of life from the greatest mass extinction of all time
Mike Benton (University of Bristol, UK)