Apocalyptic asteroid that wiped out the dinosaurs ‘hit with force of 10bn nukes and blotted out the Sun’
THE GIANT asteroid that wiped out the dinosaurs crashed into the planet and causes wildfires, tsunamis and so much atmospheric sulphur that day turned to night. This is according to a new theory by…
DEATH OF THE DINOSApocalyptic asteroid that wiped out the dinosaurs ‘hit with force of 10bn nukes and blotted out the Sun’, study findsCharlotte Edwards, Digital Technology and Science Reporter9 Sep 2019,20:00THE GIANT asteroid that wiped out the dinosaurs crashed into the planet and causes wildfires, tsunamis and so much atmospheric sulphur that day turned to night.
This is according to a new theory by scientists who have drilled almost a mile into the crater left by the asteroid that doomed the dinos.4The dinosaurs are thought to have died out 66 million years agoRocks that are essentially time capsules of when the apocalyptic asteroid smashed into Earth 66 million years ago have been dug up during a recent study.
They contained bits of charcoal, granite and other sediments that were were washed in by a towering 300 feet tsunami.It's the most definitive evidence to date of the sheer scale of the wildfires and giant waves that devastated the planet.Professor Sean Gulick, a geoscientist at The University of Texas at Austin, said: "They are all part of a rock record that offers the most detailed look yet into the aftermath of the catastrophe that ended the Age of Dinosaurs."
4This rock sample is considered to be a time capsule of the day the dinosaurs diedCredit: International Ocean Discovery ProgramThe event is actually thought to have wiped out three quarters of all the animal species on Earth.Some were burned alive or drowned but most froze and starved to death.
The impact blasted so much sulphur into the atmosphere it blocked out the sun, say the British and US led team.Professor Gulick described it as a short-lived regional inferno followed by a long period of global cooling.He said: "They fried or froze. Not all the dinosaurs died that day but many dinosaurs did."
Professor Gulick and Prof Joanna Morgan, co-leaders of The International Ocean Discovery Program, dug out cores 4,265 feet (1,300m) below the submerged Chicxulub crater.Lying 24 miles off the Yucatan Peninsula's port in Mexico, it is more than 115 miles wide and 20 miles deep. Half is underwater and the rest covered by rain forest.
The team conducted their work aboard a boat that was converted into a 40 foot high drilling station standing on three pillar-like legs.4The impact wiped out three quarters of the life on EarthCredit: Getty - ContributorThey dug into the crust to collect their cylindrical samples.
The city-sized asteroid that crashed into Earth created gaping crater instantly.There was evidence of rocks being vaporised when the six mile wide asteroid hit and this vaporisation would form sulphate aerosols in the atmosphere, resulting in cooling on a global scale.
The findings published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences confirm a theory that has been suggested, but never proven, for decades.They also rule out other reasons for the extinction event ranging from the eruption of 'super volcanoes' to prehistoric climate change or rising sea levels.
The researchers analysed a 425 feet long (130 metre) core extracted from the 'peak ring', a circle of hills 60 feet underwater at the centre of the crater.The crater was filled with debris in hours - either produced at the impact site itself or swept in by seawater pouring in from the surrounding Gulf of Mexico.
This rate of accumulation means the rocks record exactly what was happening within and around the crater at the time.4Researchers Sean Gulick and Joanna Morgan retrieved cores during the studyCredit: The University of Texas at Austin Jackson School of Geosciences
Lead author Professor Gulick said: "It's an expanded record of events that we were able to recover from within ground zero."It tells us about impact processes from an eyewitness location.At least 325 billion metric tons of sulphur would have been released at the time of the natural disaster.
That's four orders of magnitude more than the amount spewed by the eruption of Krakatoa in 1883, which cooled Earth by 2.2 degrees Fahrenheit for five years.Prof Gulick explained: "The presence of charcoal in the uppermost layers suggests the existence of impact-induced wildfires, whereas the absence of sulphur-rich evaporites from the deposit suggest the impact released a large amount of sulfate aerosols that could have caused global cooling and darkening."
This global climate change is thought to have caused the mass extinction of the dinosaurs.Prof Gulick said: "The real killer has got to be atmospheric. The only way you get a global mass extinction like this is an atmospheric effect."The melted rocks, called breccia, also give clues about the longer-lasting effects of the asteroid that killed three quarters of life on the planet.
It was travelling at about 40,000mph and caused a blast 10 million times more powerful than the atomic bomb used in World War II.It ignited trees and plants across thousands of miles and created a massive tsunami which travelled for miles.Crater specialist Prof Jay Melosh, of Purdue University, who was not involved in the study, said: "It was a momentous day in the history of life.
"This is a very clear documentation of what happened at ground zero."Why did the dinosaurs die out?Here's what you need to know...The dinosaur wipe-out was a sudden mass extinction event on EarthIt wiped out roughly three-quarters of our planet's plant and animal species around 66million years ago
This event marked the end of the Cretaceous period, and opened the Cenozoic Era, which we're still in todayScientists generally believe that a massive comet or asteroid around 9 miles wide crashed into Earth, devastating the planetThis impact is said to have sparked a lingering "impact winter", severely harming plant life and the food chain that relied on it
More recent research suggests that this impact "ignited" major volcanic activity, which also led to the wiping-out of lifeSome research has suggested that dinosaur numbers were already declining due to climate changes at the timeBut a study published in March 2019 claims that dinosaurs were likely "thriving" before the extinction event
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