front of CELS building
News and Announcements

Doctoral student receives GSA Award to promote understanding of the consequences of the Chicxulub asteroid impact

Hermann D. Bermudez, a PhD student in the Environmental Science and Management program, has received a Geological Society of America research grant to support field work.

Posted in: Awards & Recognition, CSAM Research, CSAM Students, Earth & Environmental Studies, Environmental Science & Management PhD

Hermann Bermudez sampling rock

Hermann is performing research focused on understanding the geological and paleoenvironmental consequences of the Chicxulub asteroid impact 66 Ma ago, which triggered the last of the mass extinctions of species on our planet. To shed light on this dramatic history, he is studying several geologic records in North America, as well as a section of Gorgonilla Island in the Colombian Pacific in a project that involves collaboration with specialists from Colombia, Mexico, Italy, China, Denmark, Sweden, Spain, Germany, Japan, the UK, and the USA.

Some of the results of this research have already been published in the journals Terra Nova and Geology and are part of the book “The Geology of Colombia“, published by the Colombian Geological Service.

The grant was awarded for the project proposal “Searching sedimentologic evidence of the Chicxulub Mega-Earthquake from the Cretaceous – Paleogene stratigraphic record in Alabama.”

Hermann has also recently returned from a field campaign in northeastern Mexico, where he was invited by collaborators Drs. Francisco J. Vega and Michelangelo Martini (National Autonomous University of Mexico). The collaboration was fruitful: the researchers found evidence of the Chicxulub mega-earthquake in the geologic record of the Chihuahuan Desert in the states of Nuevo Leon and Coahuila.

The data collected in the field this summer in Mexico and the USA will be presented at the 2022 GSA Annual Meeting to be held in Denver, Colorado in October, and will form the basis of a paper in preparation.

Hermann’s PhD advisor is Dr. Ying Cui in the Department of Earth and Environmental Studies.


  • Bermúdez, H.D., Arenillas, I., Arz, J.A., Vajda, V., Renne, P.R., Gilabert, V. & Rodríguez, J.V. 2019. The Cretaceous/Paleogene boundary deposits on Gorgonilla Island. In: Gómez, J. & Mateus–Zabala, D. (editors), The Geology of Colombia, Volume 3 Paleogene – Neogene. Servicio Geológico Colombiano, Publicaciones Geológicas Especiales 37, p. 1–19. Bogotá.​

Learn more about the Environmental Science and Management PhD program