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Astron. Astrophys. 321, L33-L36 (1997)

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Letter to the Editor

The "human" statistics of terrestrial impact cratering rate *

L. Jetsu

NORDITA, Blegdamsvej 17, Copenhagen 2100, Denmark

Received 17 January 1997 / Accepted 11 March 1997


The most significant periodicities in the terrestrial impact crater record are due to the "human-signal": the bias of assigning integer values for the crater ages. This bias seems to have eluded the proponents and opponents of real periodicity in the occurrence of these events, as well as the theorists searching for an extraterrestrial explanation for such periodicity. The "human-signal"  should be seriously considered by scientists in astronomy, geology and paleontology when searching for a connection between terrestrial major comet or asteroid impacts and mass extinctions of species.

Key words: Solar system: Earth – Comets, Techniques: statistical, Galaxy: solar neighbourhood

* Table 1 is only available in electronic form: see A&A 266, E1

Send offprint requests to: L. Jetsu (jetsu@nordita.dk)

© European Southern Observatory (ESO) 1997

Online publication: June 30, 1998