The meeting will start with registration and a welcome party on Sunday, July 9, 2000, at the Geological Survey of Austria, Rasumofskygasse 23, A-1030 Vienna. Oral and poster sessions will be held Monday to Wednesday (July 10-12, 2000) at the "Geozentrum" (UZA II) of the University of Vienna, Althanstrasse 14, 1090 Vienna. Detailed directions to both locations will be included in the final announcement. In a slight change to the information given in the first announcement, we are now offering two pre- and two postconference field trips, to allow participants to join two different field trips if they so desire (see Field Excursions below).
Vienna is the capital of the Federal Republic of Austria, a member of the European Community. With about 2 million people in the Vienna metropolitan area (out of about 8 million in Austria), it is one of Europe's most historical and beautiful cities. Palaces, museums, gardens, coffee shops, wine caverns (the famous "Heurigen"), and abundant musical events offer entertainment and relaxation (preferably before and after the conference!). The weather in July should be pleasant, warm (about 20-30 degrees Celsius, or 68-85 degrees Fahrenheit), and mostly sunny, but occasional cold spells and rainy periods are possible. Public transportation is inexpensive and efficient. Vienna is easily reachable by airplane, train, or car.
For detailed information on Vienna, including cultural programs, museums, concerts, public transportation, maps, addresses, and other links, see the Web page of the Vienna Tourist Board (info.wien.at/). For general information on Austria, see the Web page of the Austrian National Tourist Office (www.austria-tourism.at/).
This conference will be the fourth of an informal series of meetings on mass extinctions and global catastrophes, including the geological and biological consequences of large-scale impact events. The first and second of these meetings were held in 1981 (October 19-22) and 1988 (October 20-23) at Snowbird, Utah, and the third one took place in 1994 (February 9-12) in Houston, Texas. The first of these meetings dealt mainly with the then-controversial hypothesis that a large-scale impact event occurred 65 m.y. ago and was responsible for the end-Cretaceous mass extinction; the second meeting focused on the evidence (e.g., in terms of shock metamorphism) that such a large impact event happened; and at the third conference the discussion centered on the Chicxulub impact structure, which had in the meantime been proposed as the long-sought K/T boundary impact crater.
We are now at a stage where the question should be asked if (and how) short-term, high-energy events influence biological evolution on the Earth. Various mass extinctions, of different degrees, mark some of the geological boundaries. These have been studied in the past, but only recently has there been a discussion on how short the timescale of these mass extinctions really was. For example, recent studies of the most profound extinction event in Earth's history, at the end of the Permian, indicated a much shorter time frame for this event than earlier data had suggested, with significant associated geochemical anomalies. The cause for this global catastrophe is currently unknown. Other short-term events (e.g., Proterozoic Snowball Earth, late Devonian, Triassic-Jurassic, late Eocene) in the stratigraphic record of the Earth are now receiving unprecedented attention. Thus we feel that the time has come to summarize and discuss the current state of knowledge of the character and causes of mass extinctions and catastrophic events in the history of our planet.
The venue for the scientific sessions will be the new "Geozentrum" (UZA II) of the University of Vienna at Althanstrasse 14 in Vienna's 9th district. This building houses all Earth science institutes of the University of Vienna, as well as a library and various lecture halls. Oral and poster sessions will be held from Monday, July 10, to Wednesday, July 12, 2000. Registration will be available throughout the meeting. No parallel sessions are planned. Oral sessions will be held from 8.30-12.30 and from 14.00-18.00, with a half-hour coffee break during each session. A poster session (with refreshments) will be held next to the lecture hall on Monday afternoon (July 10, 2000). Posters will remain on display throughout the entire meeting. A public lecture broadly related to the topic of the meeting is planned.
To maximize interaction among all participants, allow for ample discussion time, and emphasize the interdisciplinary nature of this meeting, all contributions will be considered (similar to previous meetings of this series) for poster presentations. Oral presentations will consist of 25-minute invited reviews intended to set the stage for certain topics selected by the international program committee, and some 5-minute presentations selected by the program committee from all other contributions. The latter are intended to supplement review talks on specific topics and provide either new and important data, viewpoints, arguments, or present a controversial viewpoint. Discussion time will be scheduled to amount to approximately 50% of the total time available. Also, to allow efficient interaction and discussion, attendance will be limited to 300 participants (the maximum capacity of the lecture hall).
Researchers in scientific disciplines related to any aspect of the meeting are invited to contribute abstracts for poster presentation (print-only abstracts will not be considered). As explained above, the program committee will select some of these abstracts for five-minute oral presentations. Abstracts may not exceed TWO pages, including graphics, tables, and references. All abstracts must include FULL mailing addresses of all authors. Possible topics include, but are not necessarily limited to, the following:
* Crises in Earth history * Proterozoic Snowball Earth * Late Devonian extinctions * Permian-Triassic boundary * Triassic-Jurassic boundary * Jurassic-Cretaceous boundary * Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary * other boundary events * Environmental consequences of impacts and other short-term, high-energy events (e.g., volcanism) * Mechanisms of mass extinctions: causes and relations * Atmospheric response to impacts, volcanic eruptions, glaciations * Connection between impacts and volcanism * Interpretation of the stratigraphic record: reading event markers, determination of near-extinctions, recognition of a hiatus, discussion of "true" blind tests * Extraterrestrial influences: near-Earth asteroids, comets, companion stars, supernovae, etc. * Large-scale impact events in Earth history
Abstracts on related topics not listed here are also welcome. However, contributions should be relevant to the general theme of the meeting; thus papers dealing with, e.g., details of a particular impact crater, or local biostratigraphy, may not be considered. Contributors are also asked to indicate whether they regard their work as primarily new data, new data with significant implications, a model or new interpretation of data, or a review.
Deadline for hard-copy submission FEBRUARY 25, 2000 (5:00 p.m. CST)
Deadline for electronic submission MARCH 3, 2000 (5:00 p.m. CST)
More information at http://www.lpi.usra.edu/meetings/impact2000/impact2000.2nd.html