extinction theory formed recently

Glen T. Penfield discovered the Chicxulub Crater in the Yucatán Peninsula of Mexico in 1978, just 30 short years ago.

In 1980, without awareness of Penfield’s discovery, Luis Walter Alvarez (Nobel prize-winning physicist, Manhattan Project member of distinguished descent) and his son Walter Alvarez (geologist) proposed the theory that a large impact caused the extinction of the dinosaurs.

It wasn’t until the 1990’s (after Luis’ death) that the Alvarez hypothesis was connected to the Chicxulub Crater, and the theory became widely accepted.

9 comments so far

  1. notedscholar on

    Yeah, but how solid do you think this theory is? It’s new afterall.

  2. Dave Smith on

    notedscholar – As I’ve written elsewhere (link here), I’m not qualified to make such a judgment.

  3. David C. Bossard on

    You can hear a lecture by Glen Penfield on his discovery at: http://ibri.org/MP3/IC-934.mp3. This lecture was delivererd in 1992 or 1993. He lived in Bucks County until his death in the late 1990’s (DKS, 2/28/2012 – incorrect information, see further discussion on this thread). After his discovery, the publication was delayed a number of years by the Mexican petroleum giant PeMeCo (DKS, 2/28/2012 – Glen Penfield corrected to “‘PEMEX’ which stands for Petroleos Mexicanos”) who had paid for the original petroleum survey.

    David C. Bossard

  4. Glen Penfield on

    (Dave Smith moved this comment from Glen from the Contact page on 3/31/2012)

    Dear Antsy and Uncle Ham,

    NOT my picture on your otherwise accurate Chicxulub Impact Crater story; there was a good photo taken at Chicxulub in the second Sky and Telescope magazine article on the discovery in 1990 (I don’t have a copy any more). Sky and Telescope also did an interview in March 1982 shortly after I announced the discovery; but hardly anyone noticed it at the time.

    Regards, Glen Penfield

  5. Dave Smith on

    David C. Bossard – I’ve found no evidence that Glen T. Penfield died in the late 1990’s. Here’s a press release from 2003 announcing that Penfield joined Fusion Petroleum Technologies as VP of Marketing. Also, a Glen Penfield left a comment on earlier on this thread today (in 2012) indicating the accuracy of my 2008 post.

  6. Dave Smith on


    That was a NASA-derived image I found on Wikipedia. I didn’t intend to indicate that it was your picture – if you feel that picture inaccurately depicts your discovery, or if you have access to a better picture, I’d be happy to correct my page and/or the Wikipedia page I sourced.

    Thanks for your work, and for the additional information.

    Kind regards,

    Dave Smith

  7. Dave Smith on

    I’ve traded emails with Glen this week, and he’s still *very* much alive. He wasn’t offended by David Bossard’s mistake, in fact, he recalled Mark Twain’s alleged comment: “the reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated”.

  8. David C. Bosssard on

    Further on March 20, 2009 note: Late in 2009 I discovered that Glen was still extant (!) and contacted him. He provided two interesting powerpoints which are now on the ibri.org website:
    (1) Finding Chicxulub (April 1978) at
    http://www.ibri.org/Powerpoint/GlenPenfield/2007-Chicxulub-Part-1/Part-1.ppt and
    (2) Living with Neocatastrophism at

  9. David C. Bosssard on

    — these are also available as acrobat pdfs: just replace “ppt” with “pdf” in the above URLs.

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