Last Day of The Dinosaurs Revealed in Stunning Glimpse of Asteroid Disaster
Last Day of The Dinosaurs Revealed in Stunning Glimpse of Asteroid Disaster
Ancient Rock Reveals Shocking First Day After Dinosaur-Killing Asteroid Impact
11 September, 2019, 06:24
A scientific mission led by IODP (International Ocean Discovery Program) studies the Chicxulub impact crater on the Gulf of Mexico, created after an asteroid crashed 66 million years ago. "Then the energy and thermal effects radiate out from the impact site at various speeds up to the speed of light".
The asteroid triggered a tsunami that towered several hundred metres, dumping rock and dirt back in the crater at a tremendous rate - around 130 metres (425 feet) of material was deposited in just a single day, preserving an environmental record of the area in and around the crater in the first minutes and hours after impact.
Lead Australian researcher John Curtin Distinguished Professor Kliti Grice, from the WA-Organic and Isotope Geochemistry Centre (WA-OIGC) in Curtin's School of Earth and Planetary Sciences, said the team drilled into the crater in order to retrieve rocks from 500m to 1300m below the seafloor, finding evidence of the events of the days after impact. "It tells us about impact processes from an eyewitness location".
Using a core sample collected in 2016, University of Texas at Austin geologist Sean Gulick and a team of dozens of other researchers have further pieced together the story of the Cretaceous-Paleogene extinction.
The NASA image below shows an artist's interpretation of the asteroid impact.
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. The impact produced a tsunami more than a thousand feet tall, and at the same time gouged a massive crater of melted, deformed rock known as shocked rock. Within hours, ocean waters flooded the crater and deposited an estimated 90 meters (295 feet) of rock into its base.
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Charcoal and a chemical biomarker linked to soil fungi were also found within or above layers of sand in the impact crater.
"We fried them and then we froze them", he said in a statement. The vaporized sulfur, along with other debris, lingered in the atmosphere and blocked out the Sun, leading to a nuclear winter.
However, one of the most important takeaways from the research is what was missing from the core samples. "Not all the dinosaurs died that day, but many dinosaurs did". The research paper is titled, 'The First Day of Cenozoic' and as the name suggests, it explores everything that happened one day after the impact event which started the Cenozoic period.
The new research allows scientists "to get a really clear snapshot" of what happened that day, according to Derrick Pitts, chief astronomer at the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia. The impact did cause devastation in the locality of the impact but the global extinction took place due to the climate change caused by the release of massive volumes of sulphur, nearly 325 billion metric tonnes.
Interestingly, life quickly recovered at the site.
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