Published: Wed, September 11, 2019
Sci-tech | By Patricia Wade

Scientists Find Proof Of Massive Killer Asteroid That Killed Dinosaurs

Scientists Find Proof Of Massive Killer Asteroid That Killed Dinosaurs

Scientists have discovered evidence that the impact of an asteroid as powerful as 10 billion World War II-era atomic bombs caused the extinction of the dinosaurs.

First, the impact site was a fiery hellscape. Several hours later, the hole had filled to 80 meters and after a day, the material swept in by the tsunami deposited sand, gravel and bits of charcoal, according to the paper's abstract published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America.

"We fried them and then we froze them", Gulick said.

Gulick led this study, as well as the 2016 International Ocean Discovery Program scientific drilling mission, during which the rocks were retrieved from the impact site offshore of the Yucatan Peninsula.

Through their latest discovery, the researchers were able to identify the series of events that took place shortly after the asteroid's impact.

The melted rock indicates that the asteroid hit with the force of 10 billion atomic bombs, setting forests aflame for thousands of kilometres, and triggering a tsunami that reached as far as current IL.

The Impossible Magnitude-12 Earthquake That Changed Our World, The Galaxy reported that the asteroid itself was so large that, even at the moment of impact, the top of it might have still towered more than a mile above the cruising altitude of a 747, writes author Peter Brannen in Ends of the World. Within minutes of the asteroid's impact, "fluidized basement rocks" formed a ring of hills around the crater.

However, one of the most important takeaways from the research is what was missing from the core samples.

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The impact probably went as follows, based on the rock samples and what we already know about the area surrounding the crater. Over the next few hours, the ocean water started to make its way back, filling in the crater and depositing a different layer of debris.

Then, when the tsunami waters receded, they dragged a bunch of material - including dirt (indicated by the presence of biomarkers associated with soil fungus) and charcoal from burnt trees - back into the fresh crater.

A portion of the drilled cores from the rocks that filled the crater. "Not all the dinosaurs died that day, but many dinosaurs did". This finding suggests the impact vaporized these rocks, forming sulfate aerosols in the atmosphere and causing cooling on a global scale.

The impact blasted so much sulphur into the atmosphere it blocked out the sun, say the British and United States led team.

More research into this core and others will help scientists paint a better picture of the event that snuffed out most of life on Earth.

Most curiously, however, no sulfur was found in the crater, meaning an estimated 325 billion tons of the element were launched into the atmosphere, destroying Earth's climate in the process and blocking out the sun for a prolonged period.

Interestingly, life quickly recovered at the site. The mass extinction event was the result of an impact event by an asteroid that created the 180 kilometre wide Chicxulub crater in Gulf of Mexico.

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