Friday, 17 January, 2020

Asteroid that wiped out dinosaurs had power of 10 billion atomic bombs

Asteroid that wiped out dinosaurs had power of 10 billion atomic bombs Asteroid that wiped out dinosaurs had power of 10 billion atomic bombs
Sandy Nunez | 11 September, 2019, 06:28

Now, scientists at the University of Texas at Austin examining core samples from the impact site, from 500 to 1,300 meters (1,640 to 4,265 feet) below the seafloor, have found hard evidence of the exact modus operandi of the planet-killer asteroid. "Not all the dinosaurs died that day, but many dinosaurs did".

The new research was based on rocks collected in 2016 from the Chicxulub impact site off the coast of the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico.

The researchers found that most of the materials that filled up the crater after the asteroid hit were produced at the impact site or was pushed in by seawater that poured back into the crater from the Gulf of Mexico.

Artist impression of the asteroid that is thought to have killed off the dinosaurs. Just one day deposited about 425 feet of material-a rate that's among the highest ever encountered in the geologic record.

The charcoal, granite and other sediments revealed details of how the impact unleashed huge tsunamis and wildfires across the planet - along with a cloud of sulphur which blotted out the sun.

The breakneck speed of accumulation meant the rocks recorded what was happening, eventually providing clues about the longer-lasting effects of an impact that wiped out 75 percent of the planet's population.

The research, published Monday and reported earlier by The Wall Street Journal, shows the asteroid caused wildfires and tsunamis after hitting with the impact of 10 billion WWII-era atomic bombs. The blast ignited trees and plants that were thousands of miles away and triggered a massive tsunami that reached as far inland as IL.

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Inside the crater, researchers found charcoal and soil fungi in, or just above, layers of sand that show signs of being deposited by rising waters. "This suggests that the charred landscape was pulled into the crater with the receding waters of the tsunami", the researchers noted.

Within tens of minutes of the strike, the ring of rock around the impact point was smothered in about 40 meters of melted rock.

The vast Chicxulub crater is a remnant of one of the most consequential days in the history of life on Earth.

To put it in perspective, that's about four times greater in magnitude than the sulfur that was released during the 1883 Krakatoa eruption in the Dutch East Indies - which cooled the Earth's climate by an average of 1.2°C for five years.

And while the asteroid impact led to the mass destruction at the regional level, it was the global climate change that came with it that caused a masse extinction.

Professor Sean Gulick, who led the study, told CNN: "For me personally, successfully collecting the cores from the peak ring of the Chicxulub crater was the fruit of years of proposal writing and planning made reality. The only way you get a global mass extinction like this is an atmospheric effect", Gulick said. This may be explained by the asteroid's ability to vaporize any minerals that might have held sulfur, thereby releasing an estimated 225 billion metric tons of sulfur into the atmosphere.