Asteroid That Wiped Out Dinosaurs Hit At ‘Deadliest Possible’ Place On Earth
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New research has discovered the asteroid that wiped out dinosaurs hit Earth at the ‘deadliest possible’ place.
It also states the asteroid was at the ‘most lethal angle’, adding to the catastrophic impact it had on our planet.
The new findings come after investigations at the 200km-wide crater site, known as the Chicxulub crater in Mexico, combined with computer simulations that created a clear picture of the asteroid.
Following their findings, researchers also believe the asteroid ploughed into the Earth’s crust at an inclination of up to 60 degrees.
It was the combination of these things that made the event so catastrophic, and heightened its climatic fallout.
Climate fallout looks at airborne particles ejected into the atmosphere from Earth by things like explosions, eruptions, forest fires and, of course, giant asteroids.
Professor Gareth Collins from Imperial College London is part of an international team that’s been studying the anatomy of the Chicxulub crater site, and he describes the location of the strike and its angle as a ‘perfect storm’.
Speaking to BBC News, he said:
At 45 to 60 degrees, the impact is very efficient at vaporising and ejecting debris to high altitude. If the impact happens at shallower or much steeper angles, the amount of material that’s put into the atmosphere that can then have climate-changing effects is significantly less.
It’s evident that the nature of the location where this event happened, together with the impact angle, made for a perfect storm.
The asteroid threw huge volumes of sulphur from the mineral gypsum into the atmosphere, and when this mixed with water vapour, a ‘global winter’ was produced.
Along with the asteroid wiping out 75% of all species, including the dinosaurs, most remaining animals and plant life then struggled to survive in the harsh conditions of the global winter.
It’s believed the asteroid that hit the earth 66 million years ago was around 12km in diameter and created a hole in the Earth’s crust 30km deep.
As fluidised rocks rebounded off the bottom of the crater, in just a few minutes it created a mountain higher than Everest. This mountain didn’t last, however, but left a prominent inner ring of hills, or peaks.
The combination of the size of the asteroid, its angle and the spot it hit Earth is what made the strike so catastrophic.
Who knows – maybe some dinosaurs would have survived if it wasn’t for that perfect storm…
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Topics: Science, Asteroid, dinosaurs