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DinoFest 2020 Speaker: Dr. Cornelia Rasmussen

A paleontologist sits on a ridge to rest.

Title of Lecture: The need for catastrophe – did the asteroid that killed the dinosaurs create a new habitat?

Lecture Description: in 2016, an International Ocean Discovery Expedition drilled the Chicxulub impact crater that caused the extinction of non-avian dinosaurs. Dr. Rasmussen will discuss how these drill cores enabled the study of crater formation and the environmental effects of the impact, as well as learning more about the habitability of the crater itself and its potential as a cradle for life.

Bio: Dr. Cornelia Rasmussen received her BSc and MSc at Ludwig-Maximilians University in Munich before coming  to the University of Utah in 2013 to do a PhD on Late Triassic paleoecology. During her time as a PhD student, she joined the science party that drilled the impact crater that caused the end-Cretaceous mass extinction. She am currently working on this project as a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Texas, Austin. Her research focuses on how catastrophic events reshape environment, in particular how impact cratering resurfaces planetary bodies and if resulting hydrothermal systems could be a cradle for life. I am also interested in early life on Earth and how it can be identified.