One aspect of the hotspot distribution that has received little attention is its antipodal character. Of 45 'primary' hotspots found in most hotspot compilations 22 (49%) form antipodal pairs within observed hotspot drift limits (≤ 20 mm/yr). In addition, the available ages, or possible age ranges, for both hotspots of an antipodal pair tend to be similar (≤ 10 Myr difference) or overlap. Monte Carlo simulations indicate that the antipodal primary hotspots' locations and ages are not due to chance at the > 99% confidence level ( p < 0.01). All hotspot pairs include at least one oceanic hotspot, and these are consistently opposite those hotspots related to large igneous provinces (LIPs) and continental volcanism. A mechanism of formation is considered in which minor hotspot volcanism is induced at, and flood basalt volcanism is triggered by seismic energy focused antipodal to, oceanic large-body impact sites. Because continental impacts are expected to have lower seismic efficiencies, continents possibly acted as shields to the formation of antipodal hotspot pairs. Published numerical models indicate that large oceanic impacts (10-km-diameter bolide) generate megatsunami capable of altering coastal depositional environments on a global scale. Past impact-generated megatsunami, consequently, could have left widespread stratigraphic records, possibly misinterpreted as indicating large rapid changes in eustatic sea level, and widely disrupted continental and marine sediment reservoirs responsible for abrupt changes in the isotopic composition of seawater. Phanerozoic mass extinction events, therefore, might have resulted primarily from catastrophic megatsunami in a dominantly oceanic hemisphere and the near contemporaneous effusion of vast quantities of noxious gases from flood basalt eruptions in a dominantly continental one.