Michael Rampino

Michael R. Rampino

Professor of Biology

Ph.D. 1978 (geological sciences), Columbia; B.A. 1968 (geology), Hunter College.

Office Address: 

New York University
Department of Biology
1009 Silver Center
100 Washington Square East
New York, NY 10003-6688


(212) 998-3743


(212) 995-4015

Areas of Research/Interest: 

Earth history, evolution, causes of mass extinctions, volcanology

List of Publications from Pubmed

List of citations from Google Scholar


My research spans many areas of the earth sciences, especially the inter-relationships between the Earth's changing environments and the evolution of life. A major long-term project involves the causes of mass extinctions, including the end-Cretaceous extinction 65 million years ago when the dinosaurs and many other forms of life died out. The evidence for a large asteroid or comet impact at that time led to work on a general theory of large-body impacts and mass extinctions, research into impact cratering and its environmental effects and into the possible astronomical causes for periodic comet showers in Earth's history. This work has taken me to impact craters and geologic boundaries on six continents. Recently, I have been focusing on the causes of the Permian/Triassic mass extinction (250 million years ago) - the most severe mass extinction of life - with field studies in Europe, Japan and South Africa.

Another line of ongoing research has been an investigation of the role of volcanic eruptions in climatic change. This has involved study of volcanoes in Indonesia, and elsewhere around the globe. Of special interest are the largest explosive events that can produce severe 'volcanic winter' episodes of cooling. These eruptions may have caused near-extinction in human evolutionary history and their reoccurrence can threaten civilization.

Recent projects include computer modeling of biogeochemical cycles (carried out with Ken Caldeira at Lawrence - Livermore National Laboratory), and studies of global climate on time scales from decades (global warming) to hundreds of million of years (Snowball Earth) carried out with colleagues at NASA, Goddard Institute for Space Studies in NYC. I am also involved with observational studies of asteroids in collaboration with astronomers at Mt. Wilson Observatory in California.


Dr. Rampino is currently Associate Professor of Biology with the Earth and Environmental Science Program at New York University. He received his Ph.D. in Geological Sciences from Columbia University in New York City in 1978. He has been with NYU since 1985 and is also a Research Consultant at NASA, Goddard Institute for Space Studies. From 1980 to 1985 he was an Associate Research Scientist at Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University based at the Goddard Institute, and from 1978 to 1980 he held a post-doctoral research position at Goddard under Dr. Robert Jastrow.

Associated with other departments or programs:

Environmental Studies

External Affiliations:

Consultant, NASA, Goddard Institute for Space Studies, New York; Editorial Board, Journal of Coastal Research; Chair (1989-1990) of the Geological Sciences Section at the New York Academy of Sciences; representative of the International Climate Commission, International Geosphere-Biosphere Project, and NOAA, Joint US-USSR Working 8 on the Environment; member of American Geophysical Union, AAAS, Geological Society of America, New York Academy of Sciences, National Association of Geology Teachers, International Association of Volcanology, Society for Sedimentary Geology, International Society for the Study of the Origin of Life


American Philosophical Society Research Award, 1988; listed in American Men and Women of Science, Who's Who in Science and Technology, and Who's Who in the World

Selected Works:

PubMed Search Results:

Comment on "Atmospheric PCO(2) perturbations associated with the Central Atlantic Magmatic Province".
Science   (2011 Nov 04);   PMID: 22053029
Rampino MR, Caldeira K
Mass extinctions of life and catastrophic flood basalt volcanism.
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A   (2010 Apr 13);  PMC2872464 free full-text archive
Rampino MR
Is Bedout an impact crater? Take 2.
Science   (2004 Oct 22);   PMID: 15498994
Renne PR, Melosh HJ, Farley KA, Reimold WU, Koeberl C, Rampino MR, Kelly SP, Ivanov BA
A unified theory of impact crises and mass extinctions: quantitative tests.
Ann N Y Acad Sci   (1997 May 30);   PMID: 11543121
Rampino MR, Haggerty BM, Pagano TC
Late permian extinctions.
Science   (1996 Nov 29);   PMID: 17817001
Rampino MR
The terminal Paleozoic fungal event: evidence of terrestrial ecosystem destabilization and collapse.
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A   (1996 Mar 05);  PMC39926 free full-text archive
Visscher H, Brinkhuis H, Dilcher DL, Elsik WC, Eshet Y, Looy CV, Rampino MR, Traverse A
Mass extinctions and periodicity.
Science   (1995 Aug 04);   PMID: 7624783
Rampino MR, Haggerty BM
Bottleneck in human evolution and the Toba eruption.
Science   (1993 Dec 24);   PMID: 8266085
Rampino MR, Self S
The mid-Cretaceous super plume, carbon dioxide, and global warming.
Geophys Res Lett   (1991 Jun);   PMID: 11539811
Caldeira K, Rampino MR
Continental-pelagic carbonate partitioning and the global carbonate-silicate cycle.
Geology   (1991 Mar);   PMID: 11538267
Caldeira K
Carbon dioxide emissions from Deccan volcanism and a K/T boundary greenhouse effect.
Geophys Res Lett   (1990 Aug);   PMID: 11538480
Caldeira K, Rampino MR
Flood basalt volcanism during the past 250 million years.
Science   (1988 Aug 05);   PMID: 17839077
Rampino MR, Stothers RB
Geological rhythms and cometary impacts.
Science   (1984 Dec 21);   PMID: 17788998
Rampino MR, Stothers RB
Historic volcanism, European dry fogs, and greenland Acid precipitation, 1500 B.C. To a.d. 1500.
Science   (1983 Oct 28);   PMID: 17789530
Stothers RB, Rampino MR
Clay mineralogy of the cretaceous-tertiary boundary clay.
Science   (1983 Feb 04);   PMID: 17742826
Rampino MR, Reynolds RC
Can rapid climatic change cause volcanic eruptions?
Science   (1979 Nov 16);   PMID: 17820760
Rampino MR, Self S, Fairbridge RW
Updated on 01/04/2017