Megafaunal extinctions at the Younger Dryas Boundary (YDB) 12,900 years ago were likely triggered by environmental changes resulting from a meteorite impact or explosion. When such impacts occur, high temperatures and pressures can create nanodiamonds (NDs) from carbon in the meteorite or target rock, which are then preserved in the sedimentary rock record. While several forms of NDs are found in nature, just two ND structures (hexagonal and n-diamond) have been shown to be shock-synthesized during high energy meteorite impacts. When these NDs are extracted, purified, identified, and quantified from sediments, they therefore help support the theory that an impact, might have triggered their formation. This project has been devoted to revising and applying a protocol for ND isolation and purification to YDB samples.
"Examining Evidence of High-energy Impact Sites through Analysis of Nanodiamond Content in Sedimentary Samples,"
DePaul Discoveries: Vol. 2
, Article 5.
Available at: http://via.library.depaul.edu/depaul-disc/vol2/iss1/5