Dr. David A. Kring, Senior Staff Scientist at the Lunar and Planetary Institute, has been named as a Fellow of the Geological Society of America (GSA).

Kring received his Ph.D. in Earth and planetary sciences from Harvard University. He specializes in impact cratering processes produced when asteroids and comets collide with planetary surfaces. Kring is perhaps best known for his work with the discovery of the Chicxulub impact crater, which he linked to the K-T boundary mass extinction of dinosaurs and over half of the plants and animals that existed on Earth 65 million years ago. He has also studied the environmental effects of impact cratering and shown how impact processes can affect both the geological and biological evolution of a planet. This work includes studies of the dramatic environmental perturbations (e.g., prolonged darkness, acid rain, wildfires) expected after the Chicxulub impact event, plus studies of several smaller local, regional, and global effects produced by the thousands of impact events that affected Earth after life evolved.

Kring has also explored how impact cratering may have affected the early evolution of the Earth-Moon system. In particular, he has led a decade-long campaign to test the lunar cataclysm hypothesis, which is one of the great intellectual legacies of the Apollo program. Indeed, the bombardment of the Earth-Moon system remains the highest science priority for our nation’s return to the Moon. Kring has suggested that an intense period of impact bombardment may have affected the origin and early evolution of life on Earth. In particular, he suggested that early impact bombardment created vast subsurface hydrothermal systems that were crucibles for prebiotic chemistry and provided habitats for the early evolution of life. He calls this concept the impact-origin of life hypothesis.

GSA Fellowship is an honor that is bestowed on the best of geoscience professionals once per year at the GSA Spring Council meeting. GSA members are elected to Fellowship in recognition of distinguished contributions to the geosciences, and nominations may only be made by a Fellow of the Society. Kring was nominated by James Wright Horton.

GSA’s newly elected Fellows will be recognized at the 2009 GSA Annual Meeting Presidential Address and Awards Ceremony on Saturday, October 17, at the Oregon Convention Center in Portland. A complete list of the newly elected Fellows can be found online at www.geosociety.org/members/newFellows.htm.

Posted by: Soderman/NLSI Staff
Source: NASA

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