University of Vienna, Austria


June 1, 2000        Deadline for field trip registration -
        note extended deadline
June 1, 2000        Preregistration deadline
July 5–9, 2000        Preconference field trips (Ries and Bjala)
July 9–12, 2000        Catastrophic Event Conference, Vienna, Austria
July 13–17, 2000        Postconference field trips (Alps and Italy)
October 1, 2000        Deadline for submission of proceedings manuscripts

   Where, When, and Why            Official and Social Events
   Scientific Program            Public Lecture
   Proceedings            Guest Program
   Abstracts and Program            Accommodations
   Student and Other Travel Awards            Transportation
   Registration            Field Excursions

You are cordially invited to participate in the international conference on Catastrophic Events and Mass Extinctions:  Impacts and Beyond, to be held at the University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria, from Sunday, July 9, 2000, to Wednesday, July 12, 2000. 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 through Wednesday (July 10–12, 2000) at the Geozentrum (UZA II) of the University of Vienna, Althanstrasse 14, 1090 Vienna. Directions to both locations can be found on the maps provided (
campus map or City of Vienna map).

The Austrian Geological Survey (registration, public lecture, and welcome party on Sunday, July 9) is located at Rasumofskygasse 23 in the 3rd district. To get there, use underground line U3 in the direction of Erdberg and get off at the Rochusgasse station. After exiting the station (you will come out in the middle of a small farmers' market), turn right from the main street and the market square into Rasumofskygasse (there is a post office at the corner). Walk down about one block; the Geological Survey (Palais Rasumofsky) is on the righthand side of the street. On Sunday it might be possible to find some available parking spaces near the Survey.

On Monday morning, the sessions will be held in lecture hall 3 (Hörsaal 3) at the Geosciences Building (Geozentrum) of the University of Vienna, Althanstrasse 14, 9th district. The Geosciences Building is part of a small and fairly modern campus, which may be confusing on your first visit.

To get there (see the Vienna overview map), use underground lines 4 or 6 and exit at the Spittelau station (there is a large waste plant, which you can't miss because it has a golden chimney and is painted in 100 colors). Alternatively, use tram line D, which goes from the south railway station ("Südbahnhof") through the inner city (1st district) along the ring toward Nussdorf. There are three stops near the University Campus Althanstrasse. We recommend that you get off at the Augasse or Lichtenwerder Platz stop. Do not use a car; no free parking is available at or near the meeting site.

To find the Geosciences Building, please consult the detailed map of the Althanstrasse campus. From the underground station Spittelau, cross the street toward the large white building, walk up the stairs (do NOT stay on the street level), and walk between the silver building of the Economics University (Wirtschaftsuniversität, WU) on the right and the long white building on the left (Pharmazeutical Sciences Building of the University of Vienna) to the center of the building and enter into the Geosciences Building as indicated. The lectures are in lecture room 3 toward the other end of the building. If coming from tram stop D in Augasse (or from Hotel Alexander), simply walk up the stairs from the street level and find your way in between the buildings as indicated.

Regarding the field trips, we have extended the deadline for registration to June 1, 2000, to agree with the preregistration deadline. The two post-meeting field trips (Italy and Alps) are filling up at this time, although we still have spaces available on both trips. The two premeeting field trips (Ries Crater and Black Sea) still have plenty of space left; in fact, at this time (mid April) we are still below the minimum number of participants. Field trip registrants will be immediately informed via e-mail of any changes.

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 taverns (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° to 30°C, or 68° to 85°F), 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, address searches, and other links, see the Web page of the Vienna Tourist Board. For general information on Austria, see the Web page of the Austrian National Tourist Office.

This conference is 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 main focus of this meeting deals with the question 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. Other short-term events (e.g., Proterozoic Snowball Earth, late Devonian, late Eocene) in the stratigraphic record of the Earth are now receiving attention. At this meeting, we hope 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. Return to Table of Contents

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 (for directions, see the
overview of Vienna map and/or the campus map, or use the directions given above). 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, through Wednesday, July 12, 2000.

Registration will be available throughout the meeting. No parallel sessions are planned. Oral sessions will be held from 8.30 to 12.30 and from 13:45 to about 18:30, 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 duration of the meeting. A public lecture broadly related to the topic of the meeting will be held Sunday at 14.00 at the Geological Survey.

To maximize the interaction between all participants, allow for ample discussion time, and emphasize the interdisciplinary nature of this meeting, all contributions have been considered (similar to previous meetings of this series) for poster presentations. Oral presentations consist of 25-minute reviews (20 + 5 minutes) intended to set the stage for a certain topic identified by the international program committee, and some 5-minute presentations that were 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, or arguments, or present a controversial viewpoint. Discussion time will be scheduled for approximately 50% of the total time available.

Projection equipment available for oral presentations will consist of two 35-mm slide projectors and two overhead projectors. Should video projection be required (PAL and NTSC formats only), please contact the local organizers at least two weeks before the meeting. No computer or video facilities are available for poster presentations; however, if presenters are bringing their own equipment (e.g., a laptop computer), please contact the local organizers well before the meeting for space and power requirements. Return to Table of Contents

As with the previous three meetings in this series, a proceedings volume will be published as a Special Paper by the Geological Society of America (GSA). Deadline for receipt of manuscripts is October 1, 2000. GSA has promised speedy publication of the volume. Information regarding manuscript preparation and style is available at the
GSA Web site. Details on proceedings submission and schedule will be available at the meeting. Participants who want to bring manuscripts to the meeting are encouraged to do so. There is no length limit, but manuscripts must follow GSA style, and three copies are required. It is not necessary that the manuscript for the proceedings is identical to the abstract presented at the meeting (but it has to fit the topic of the meeting). Return to Table of Contents

We had a tremendous response to the call for abstracts. Over 150 abstracts were received and slightly less than 150 were accepted by the program committee at its meeting in Houston in March. As no parallel sessions will be held, it is clearly impossible to schedule even half of these submissions for conventional oral presentations during a three-day meeting. The philosophy of this meeting emphasizes discussion and interaction between contributors, moderators, and the audience. The program is, therefore, structured around review talks that cover the topics listed in the second announcement. These review talks are augmented by 5-minute oral presentations that were selected by the program committee from the contributed abstracts. All contributors (even those selected for a 5-minute oral presentation) will have to present their contribution in poster form. Poster display spaces are 1 m wide and 1.5 m high. Posters can only be mounted with adhesive tape. We have scheduled a full afternoon (with refreshments) for the poster session and discussion, and posters will remain up for the duration of the meeting.

The abstracts and preliminary program are now available (in PDF format). Return to Table of Contents

Due to the generous sponsorship of the Barringer Crater Company and funds from the European Science Foundation (ESF) "Impact" program, as well as support from Austrian sources, a number of travel grants are available to students and to researchers from underprivileged countries and institutions (e.g., the former USSR, Africa, etc.). We received approximately 40 travel grant applications, and the program committee awarded travel grants to about 30 participants. We are able to pay the registration fee and accommodation cost (based on the C-class hotel) to all travel grant recipients. In addition, funds for actual transportation costs to and from Vienna will be handled on an individual basis. Awardees have already been informed of their grants and have been asked to send a message to the chair of the organizing committee (C. Koeberl) confirming their attendance and their travel cost requirement. Awardees who have not already done so are asked to please provide this information as soon as possible (and NO LATER THAN June 1). In addition, all travel awardees are required to send in a registration form even if their registration fee will be waived.

The program committee has also awarded two special prizes:  the "ESF-Impact" award for the best student paper from a member country of the ESF Impact program (Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Norway, Portugal, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom; see for more information on the Impact program), and the "Impact2000" award for the best non-European (i.e., non-ESF-Impact) student paper. The winners are D. Siret (France) for the ESF Impact award and A. Shukla (India) for the Impact2000 award. The winners have been invited to present their work as one of the 5-minute oral presentations. The awards cover complete travel costs (based on nonrefundable Apex airfare), accommodation (C** category), and waiver of the registration fee. Return to Table of Contents

Registration will take place on Sunday, July 9, 2000, from 13.30 to 18.00 at the Geological Survey of Austria, Rasumofskygasse 23, in Vienna's 3rd district (see
map and directions above). Please note the earlier starting time of the registration period because of the public lecture scheduled for 14.00. On Monday through Wednesday (July 10–13, 2000) registration will be from 8.00 to 17.00 near the lecture hall at the Geozentrum of the University of Vienna, Althanstrase 14, in Vienna’s 9th district (see map and directions above).

A downloadable registration form is provided for your convenience. It must be returned to the Institute of Geochemistry, University of Vienna, Austria, and NOT to the LPI! To qualify for the lower preregistration rates, your form must be received in Vienna no later than June 1, 2000. Even if you plan to pay at the meeting, please send in a registration form for planning purposes. Remember that meeting attendance is limited to 300 participants and spaces will be reserved in the order in which forms are received, with priority given to those who have submitted abstracts for presentation. Please use the registration form only for payment of the registration fee(s) and field trip costs. For hotel reservations, please use the separate hotel registration form (to be sent to Austropa Interconvention). All fees are payable in Austrian Schillings (ATS). Approximate exchange rates: 1 Euro = 13.7 ATS, 1 US $ = 14.7 ATS (April 2000) (note the decline of the Euro versus U.S. dollar since last year!).

Please note that the registration fee for participants and students includes the welcome reception on Sunday, lunches on Monday through Wednesday, all coffee breaks, refreshments at the poster session on Monday afternoon, the conference social on Tuesday night, the farewell party on Wednesday, and all conference materials. Guests are welcome at the Sunday reception, the Monday poster session, the conference social on Tuesday night, and the farewell party on Wednesday evening.

Cancellation Policy:  Registration and field trip fees will be refunded (minus 15% bank and administrative charges) for cancellations received no later than June 1, 2000. From June 1 to July 1, 2000, a 50% refund will be made. After July 1, 2000, no refunds are possible (this includes field trip fees). Return to Table of Contents

Sunday, July 9:  Registration (13.30–18.00), public lecture by Prof. Ulrich Köhler on "Meteors and Comets in Ancient Mexico" at 14.00, and welcome party (15.30–19.00), with drinks and snacks, at the Great Hall of the Geological Survey of Austria, Rasumofskygasse 23, in Vienna's 3rd district.

Monday, July 10:  9.00, conference opening at the "Geozentrum", University of Vienna, Althanstrasse 14, 9th district. 15.00–19.30, poster session with refreshments.

Tuesday, July 11:  19.00, departure from "Geozentrum" to a "Heuriger" (classical Viennese wine tavern) for the conference social (buffet dinner and wine).

Wednesday, July 12:  18.00–19.30, farewell party (with refreshments) at the "Geozentrum".
Return to Table of Contents

A public lecture on "Meteors and Comets in Ancient Mexico" will be given by Prof. Ulrich Köhler from the University of Freiburg in Germany. Summary:  Meteors, meteorites, and comets were of great importance in the thoughts of the Indians of Mexico. Meteors were alternatively viewed as arrows of stellar gods, their cigar butts, or even their excrement. The arrows could hit animals or people and were feared when walking at night. Comets were conceived as smoking stars and as bad omens, possibly announcing such events as the death of a ruler. In the north of Yucatán, Mayan oral traditions report of a lake that originated when a huge meteorite hit the ground.

The lecture will be held at the Geological Survey on Sunday, July 9, 2000, at 14.00 and is intended to introduce the partipants and interested public to a very different side of meteorites and comets. The proximity of the topic of the lecture to the Chicxulub impact structure will not have escaped the audience. We hope that everybody can attend. Return to Table of Contents

Vienna has numerous attractions for guests, ranging from museums, palaces, and gardens to shopping opportunities, coffee houses, concerts, and other cultural activities. Due to the large variety of possible activities, no official conference guest tours will be offered. Arrangements for tours can be made in advance through Austropa Interconvention (for contact address, see
hotel reservation form) or just as easily upon arrival in Vienna. Conference participants and guests will receive a large variety of maps, brochures, and information material. Return to Table of Contents

The local organizers have booked blocks of rooms at several hotels in the vicinity of the meeting place to provide participants with convenient accommodations at reasonable conference rates. For logistical reasons, hotel reservations cannot be handled by the organizers directly and will be coordinated by Austropa Interconvention in Vienna (contact Mrs. Helga Eismair, Austropa Interconvention, Waehringer Strasse 6-8, A-1090 Vienna, Austria; phone:  +43-1-316 8016, fax:  +43-1-315 5650;
[email protected]; please mention "IMPACT2000"). A downloadable hotel reservation form is available for your convenience. Please remember that July is high tourist season and book early (the deadline for guaranteed hotel reservations is June 1, 2000). Note that field trip participants should remember to book hotel for the time before or after field trips as appropriate! Return to Table of Contents

Vienna is easily reachable by car, train, and airplane. If you are flying into Vienna, please note that Austrian Airlines has been designated as the official carrier for our event. They offer the most frequent flights to and from Austria.

Please contact your nearest Austrian Airlines office ( or travel agent where you will receive information on flights and fares. As a meeting participant you and one accompanying person will benefit from a favorable congress fare on Austrian Airlines flights (excluding certain reduced and action fares). For bookings, please identify yourself as a participant by referring to CODE CEME0/OSCN. If your ticket is issued at a travel agency, please ask your agent to contact the nearest Austrian Airlines office with the code. Please note that from April 2000 onward, the Austrian Airlines Group (Austrian Airlines, Lauda, Tyrolean) will be joining the Star Alliance, resulting in a much greater choice of flights to and from Vienna.

Participants from the USA should contact the following Austrian Airlines contractor for reservations:  Conferences International, Inc., 1101 Worcester Road, Suite 401, Framingham MA 01701-5249 (phone:  508-872-4455 or 800-221-8747; fax:  508-872-5566; [email protected]; Web site:

If you arrive at Vienna International Airport, you have a choice of transportation into town. The most inexpensive choice is the train [about every half hour, goes to Vienna Center (Wien Mitte), and takes about half an hour]; next is the bus (more frequent, more expensive, a bit faster, also goes to Wien Mitte). In both cases you'll have to take a cab or public transportation to your hotel. Or you can take a cab directly from the airport to your hotel, which is a good idea if there are two or more people going to the same place and you can share the costs (about 300 to 400 ATS). For more details, see the airport Web page.

Vienna has a dense, reliable, inexpensive, and rapid public transportation system, consisting of underground lines, rapid trains, trams, and buses. Details are available at the Web page of the Vienna Tourist Board. There are (among others) single tickets (19 ATS if purchased in advance), 8-ticket cards, 24-hour passes (60 ATS), 3-day passes (150 ATS), and weekly passes (good Monday through Sunday). Single tickets are the most expensive option. Each ticket allows the use of all sorts of public transportation for one trip, no matter how often you change from bus to tram to underground. All passes allow unlimited use of the system for the time period indicated. Please note that you must validate tickets (including most passes) upon first use. Maps will be included with the registration materials. Most hotels are within walking distance of the meeting place or just a short tram ride away. We advise against the use of cars in Vienna. From Monday to Friday, the inner districts of Vienna (1 to 9) are a short-parking zone (maximum time of 2 hours), with a fairly complicated fee system. No free parking of any sort is available near the meeting place; however, there is an (expensive) parking garage nearby. Most hotels offer parking garages for a surcharge (if needed, inquire with Austropa Interconvention). Return to Table of Contents

Four field excursions to some of the most important and interesting sites in Central Europe that relate to the topic of the meeting are offered. For questions regarding the content of the various excursions, please contact the respective field trip leaders (e-mail addresses are listed below). Please note that there are minimum and maximum numbers of participants for each field trip. Field trip costs must be paid in full no later than the field trip registration deadline of June 1, 2000 (please note extended deadline, to coincide with preregistration deadline). Guests are of course welcome to attend field trips. Field trips will be filled in order of receipt of registrations and payment. Please indicate a second choice in case your first choice is already full or in case it has to be canceled due to lack of participants.


1.  Ries and Steinheim Impact Structures (Germany) and
Kendelbachgraben Triassic-Jurassic Boundary (Austria) (RIES)

Duration:  July 5–8, 2000 (from/to Vienna)
Cost:  4800.- ATS
Included:  Bus travel from/to Vienna; accommodation (double occupancy) for two nights in Nordlingen (Germany) and one night in Bad Ischl (Austria), including breakfast; lunch on July 6, 7, and 8, and dinner on July 5, 6, and 7; guided tour at Nördlingen; excursion guide.
Not Included:  personal expenses; drinks; supplement for single room:  450.- ATS
Participants:  minimum 15, maximum 50

Field Trip Leaders:

Gisela Pösges and Michael Schieber (Rieskratermuseum Nördlingen, Germany; both at [email protected])
Jean Pohl (University of Munich, Germany)
Harald Lobitzer (Geological Survey of Austria, Vienna)

Summary:  This field trip will include a visit to the Ries and Steinheim impact structures in southern Germany, as well as to the Kendelbachgraben Triassic-Jurassic (TR-J) boundary section in Upper Austria. The 15-m.y.-old, 24-km-diameter Ries Crater is one of the best-studied impact structures in the world and is the largest and best-exposed one in central Europe. Nordlingen has an excellent museum with displays covering the complete geological and biological history of the Ries, from impact to today. Outcrops showing a variety of impact-related rocks will be visited. On the return trip to Vienna, we will visit the well-known Kendelbachgraben TR-J boundary section in Upper Austria. Participants will have a chance to take samples. If time and weather permits, a visit to the Gosau K/T boundary section is possible.

Note:  Currently this field trip is undersubscribed; there are still plenty of spaces available.


2.  K/T Field trip:  Black Sea, Bulgaria (BJALA)

Duration:  July 6–9, 2000 (from/to Varna, Bulgaria)
Cost:  4200.- ATS
Included:  travel by bus in Bulgaria (to/from Varna airport), all meals, and accommodation (based on double occupancy) at the Hotel Villa Sagona, Varna (spacious double and single rooms); excursion guide.
Not Included:  airfare from Vienna to Sofia-Varna and return (see below); personal expenses, drinks, single room supplement: 300.- ATS.
Participants:  minimum 6, maximum 20

Field Trip Leaders:

Anton Preisinger (Technical University of Vienna, [email protected])
Herbert Summesberger (Natural History Museum, Vienna, [email protected])
Selma Aslanian (Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, Varna, Bulgaria)

Summary:  In 1991 the first K/T boundary section in hemipelagic marine sediments was discovered in Bulgaria on the coast of the Black Sea near the city of Bjala, 35 km south of Varna. This K/T boundary section is located in the Luda Kamchiya unit, lying between the Balkan chain in the south and the Moesian platform in the north. A spectacular rhythmic sedimentation over a vertical range of a 100 m resulted in the deposition of limestone with intercalated marl. Two hundred limestone beds correspond to precessional Milankovitch cycles. A 5-m.y. absolute geological timescale results from the combination with the measured magnetic polarity changes (Chron 29R to Chron 26R). The reference age (65.0 Ma) corresponds to the level of the maximum iridium content in the K/T boundary. Evidence for Maastrichtian age is given by macro-, micro-, and nannofossils. The evidence of Palaeogene age is given by micro- and nannofossils. In the Bjala section three post-K/T event markers can be distinguished:  fall-out, boundary clay, and reworked Cretaceous sediments.

Group Flight:  A group flight can be organized from Vienna via Sofia to Varna on Thursday, July 6, and from Varna via Sofia to Vienna on Sunday, July 9, 2000. Arrival in Vienna on July 9 will be before 16.00 to allow registration and participation in the welcome party. Cost: approximately 5000.- ATS. It is highly recommended that you join this group flight to facilitate the organization of the field trip and allow you to obtain a group rate. Please indicate on the form if you want to be part of the group or if you will make your own air travel arrangements (give details of your reservations).

Note:  Currently this field trip is undersubscribed; there are still plenty of spaces available.



3.  Classical K/T and late Eocene impactoclastic records
at the Umbria-Marche Region, Italy (ITALY)

Duration:  July 12–17, 2000 (from/to Vienna)
Cost:  7800.- ATS (from/to Vienna; one-way from Vienna:   6800.- ATS)
Included:  Overnight train (2nd class, with bed) from/to Vienna, accommodation (double occupancy) for four nights in Coldigioco (simple accommodation, central facilities), including breakfast, lunch, and dinner (including water and wine); all local transport to and from outcrops, boat ride, excursion guide.
Not Included:  personal expenses
Participants:  minimum 12, maximum 30

Field Trip Leader:

Alessandro Montanari (Osservatorio Geologico di Coldigioco, Italy; [email protected])

Summary:  In this field trip, you have the unique opportunity to visit the classical Italian K/T boundary and Late Eocene impactoclastic records in a marine pelagic sequence. The base for the field trip is the well-known "Osservatorio Geologico di Coldigioco" (near Apiro, Marche Region, Italy). Visits include K/T boundary sites at Gubbio (e.g., the famous Bottacione section, where the original discovery of the Alvarez group was made in the late 1970s), Contessa, Furlo, and Poggio, and the Global Stratotype Section and Point for the Eocene/Oligocene Boundary at Massignano (with the Late Eocene impactoclastic layer). Other boundaries include the Jurassic-Cretaceous, Aptian-Albian, Cenomanian-Turonian, Cretaceous-Tertiary, and Paleocene-Eocene events.

Note:  This field trip is confirmed, as we have already well exceeded the minimum number of participants. There are still some spaces available, but please book soon.


4.  Carnic Alps of Southern Austria (ALPS)

Duration:  July 13–16, 2000 (from/to Vienna)
Cost:  4700.- ATS
Included:  Transportation to from/to Vienna; accommodations (double occupancy) for three nights, including breakfast, lunch, and dinner; all local transportation (minibus, field vehicles) to and from outcrops; cable car; excursion guide.
Not Included:  personal expenses, drinks, single room surcharge 450.- ATS.
Participants:  minimum 10, maximum 25
Field Trip Leader:

Hans P. Schonlaub (Geological Survey of Austria, Vienna; [email protected])

Summary:  This field trip will allow visits to the Perminan-Triassic boundary sections at Reppwand (Gartnerkofel area), with the possibility to collect samples, the Cellon Upper Ordovician to Lower Devonian profile, as well as Devonian-Carboniferous, Frasnian-Famennian, and Ordovician-Silurian boundary sections. The excursion is based in a beautiful part of the Austrian Alps.

Note:  This field trip is also well-subscribed, but still has some spaces available. Please book soon.

Return to Table of Contents

Go to top of page

Back to Catastrophic Events main page