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Scientists reveal groundbreaking discovery on meteor that killed the dinosaurs

Scientists reveal groundbreaking discovery on meteor that killed the dinosaurs

The impact of the meteor killed off around three quarters of life on Earth

A new study has revealed previously unknown details about the meteor that wiped out dinosaurs on Earth millions of years ago. 

For those unfamiliar with how the dinosaurs were wiped out - around 66 million years ago a six-mile wide asteroid slammed into Earth, near to what is now Mexico’s Yucatán peninsula. 

The massive asteroid caused a massive explosion that changed the climate and killed off around three-quarters of all life on Earth, including the dinosaurs. 

There were no cameras at the time, so here's a drawing showing how it may have looked:
Adriana Rosas / Alamy Stock Photo

Of course, with such a catastrophic impact, it’s not exactly news to find out that the Chicxulub impact - as the event is known - was devastating. 

But a new study has found that the meteor actually had even more of a destructive impact than previously believed. 

According to the new study, published in AGU Advances, the impact of the asteroid caused huge tsunamis, the likes of which we have never seen before. 

Researchers from the University of Michigan built the first-ever global simulation of Chicxulub impact tsunami and shared their findings in a study published today (4 October). 

The location of the Chicxulub crater.
Science History Images / Alamy Stock Photo

The study’s authors say the impact of the meteor caused ‘a monstrous tsunami with mile-high waves that scoured the ocean floor thousands of miles from the impact site on Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula’. 

Lead author Molly Range said: "This tsunami was strong enough to disturb and erode sediments in ocean basins halfway around the globe, leaving either a gap in the sedimentary records or a jumble of older sediments.”

The study claims that the waves caused by Chicxulub impact tsunami reached around the world, going as far New Zealand.

Speaking to the Independent, Range said: “This work shows the tsunami had a global impact and much of the world’s coastlines saw metre-high waves. 

“Areas closer to the impact saw waves as high as 30 to several hundred meters, which resulted in a lot of coastal flooding.”

The asteroid wiped out around three quarters of life on Earth.
Science Photo Library / Alamy Stock Photo

The authors of the study calculated that the initial energy in the impact tsunami was up to 30,000 times larger than the energy from the December 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake tsunami, which killed more than 230,000 people and is one of the largest tsunamis in the modern record. 

University of Michigan Professor of Earth Science and study co-author Brian Arbic, told the Independent that the team plan to conduct further studies to reveal more. 

“We expect that there was some large flooding all over the world’s coastlines,” he said. “We will know more about the coastal flooding after our next study.”

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Featured Image Credit: Steppenwolf / Science Photo Library / Alamy Stock Photo

Topics: Science, World News