Researchers Explain What Happened When Dinosaur-Killing Asteroid Hit Earth

A scientific mission led by IODP studies the Chicxulub impact crater on the Gulf of Mexico created after an asteroid crashed 66 million years ago. RONALDO SCHEMIDT  AFP  Getty Images

An worldwide team led by University of Texas and including Imperial College London researchers analysed more than 130 metres of rock that had built up over just one day - the day after the asteroid struck.

About 66 million years ago, the Cretaceous period ended with the extinction of three-quarters of animals and plants, including dinosaurs. "In this case, you instantly made a hole with the impact and buried it with all these dynamic processes", Guelick said.

"Not all the dinosaurs died that day, but many dinosaurs did", Gulick said.

An worldwide team of more than two dozen scientists analyzed core samples from rocks within the mountains and hills surrounding the Chixculub cater in the Yucatan Peninsula, a massive hole measuring almost 30 kilometers (19 miles) deep and 193 kilometers (120 miles) wide.

"Most of the material that filled the crater within hours of impact was produced at the impact site or was swept in by seawater pouring back into the crater from the surrounding Gulf of Mexico", the researchers explained.

That sulphur, scientists believe, was the real killer - possibly exacerbated by later volcanic activity thought to have been triggered by the impact. Within one day, 130 meters (425 feet) of material was deposited within the crater - among the highest in the geological record. That backs the theory that the asteroid vaporized the sulfur minerals at the impact site sending it into the atmosphere which reflected sunlight away and ushered in the cooling period.

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.


Researchers said the impact was equal to the power of 10 billion atomic bombs the size of the one used in World War II.

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 melted rock indicates that the asteroid hit with the force of 10 billion atomic bombs, setting forests aflame for thousands of kilometres, and triggering a tsunami that reached as far as current IL. "It was a momentous day in the history of life, and this is a very clear documentation of what happened at ground zero", he said in a statement. Within charcoal samples were indicators of soil fungi present in sand, suggesting the charcoal was pushed into the crater by receding tsunami waters.

The explosion from the impact instantly triggered various wildfires inland. But he pointed out that this is just one paper about one core. But there was no sulfur in the core.

Researchers estimate that at least 325 billion metric tons would have been released by the impact. To put that in perspective, that's about four orders of magnitude greater than the sulfur that was spewed during the 1883 eruption of Krakatoa-which cooled the Earth's climate by an average of 2.2 degrees Fahrenheit 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. They also found charcoal from wildfires, which along with soot, sulphur and dust blasted into the atmosphere, blocked the sun and caused global cooling.

Related News:

  • FIRE PLAN: Bushfire season ignites early

    FIRE PLAN: Bushfire season ignites early

    Fires are also burning north of Rockhampton, near Gympie and one west of Toowoomba, but no homes are under threat in those areas. Acting Premier Jackie Trad said the fires overnight also claimed a piece of Queensland's history in the Gold Coast hinterland.
    At least 31 dead in Iraq’s Karbala stampede

    At least 31 dead in Iraq’s Karbala stampede

    The Associated Press reported part of a walkway collapsed during Ashura observations, prompting people to run to safety. Under ex-ruler Saddam Hussein's Sunni-dominated government, the vast majority of Ashura commemorations were banned.
    Netanyahu announces post-election plan to annex Jordan Valley

    Netanyahu announces post-election plan to annex Jordan Valley

    Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has vowed to to annex the Jordan Valley in the occupied West Bank if re-elected. The Israeli PM opposes statehood for Palestine and has said in the past that he views Iran as the nation's biggest threat.
  • Tesla driver appears to fall asleep behind wheel of moving auto

    Tesla driver appears to fall asleep behind wheel of moving auto

    At highway speeds, drivers typically receive warning every 30 seconds or less if their hands aren't detected on the wheel". Both the driver and his female passenger appear to be sleeping as the Tesla cruises along in self-driving mode.
    Vaping Lung Disease: Sixth Death From Vaping-Related Illness Reported In US

    Vaping Lung Disease: Sixth Death From Vaping-Related Illness Reported In US

    While there is an ongoing investigation, health officials and the CDC ask the public to refrain from using e0-cigarettes. Farah Ahmed, the state's epidemiologist, said the patient had a history of underlying health issues.
    Protests erupt as Boris Johnson suspends Parliament

    Protests erupt as Boris Johnson suspends Parliament

    Johnson had wanted an election on October 15, hoping he would win enough seats in the Commons to force through his Brexit plan. Johnson was in the Irish capital, Dublin, for talks with Taoiseach Leo Varadkar over the crucial issue of the "Irish backstop".
  • Southgate set to make changes for England’s Euro 2020 qualifier against Kosovo

    Southgate set to make changes for England’s Euro 2020 qualifier against Kosovo

    He found space down the left hand side and powered a low effort with his weak left foot past Arijanet Muric . Things went from bad to worse for Kosovo when defender Mergim Vojvoda scored an own goal in the 37th minute.
    Melania Trump tweets concerns over e-cigarettes

    Melania Trump tweets concerns over e-cigarettes

    Reached for comment, a spokesperson for Juul said the company is reviewing the letter and plans to "fully cooperate". The teens testified that a Juul representative was invited to address the school on addiction issues.
    Team USA coasts by Brazil but faces treacherous path to final

    Team USA coasts by Brazil but faces treacherous path to final

    Each team will move on to the Quarter-Finals on Wednesday with France taking on Team USA and Australia facing the Czech Republic . Boston Celtics guard Kemba Walker added 16 points and five assists despite missing morning shootaround with an illness.
  • Reigning MVP Antetokounmpo's Greece fall to United States  at World Cup

    Reigning MVP Antetokounmpo's Greece fall to United States at World Cup

    With the US missing Jayson Tatum (ankle) and with Marcus Smart (quad) questionable, their defensive options have been limited. Jock Londale impressed with 13 points on five-of-six shooting, while Chris Goulding added 15 and Aron Baynes put up 10.
    Hurricane Dorian waves brings in bricks of cocaine at Florida beaches

    Hurricane Dorian waves brings in bricks of cocaine at Florida beaches

    Most lately, a beachgoer advised a Melbourne police officer on patrol at Paradise Seaside and Park round eight a.m. A brick of cocaine that washed up on shore in Florida as hurricane Dorian whipped the coast on September 3, 2019.
    Joaquin Phoenix's Joker Definitely Won't Meet Robert Pattinson's Batman

    Joaquin Phoenix's Joker Definitely Won't Meet Robert Pattinson's Batman

    The film shows how the character slips towards insanity and how he fights against a cruel society. So Todd Phillips basically told him that eventually he would have to make a decision.


Most liked

U.S. fight back in style to win Walker Cup
Cole Hammer was 3 up through six holes on his way to a 6-and-5 victory over Conor Purcell, the shortest match of the week. John Augenstein hit back for team US with a 2&1 win over Conor Purcell taking it to 4-3 in the match overall.

Trump Is 'Celebrating His Own Ignorance' on Hurricane Dorian Claims — CNN's Stelter
Over the past few weeks, he's had to deal with the dangers of Hurricane Dorian which is set to strike Southern states in America. NOAA spokesman Christopher Vaccaro verified that day that "The current forecast path of Dorian does not include Alabama".

Crews work to restore power and clear debris left in Dorian's wake
No one was injured, but the Nova Scotia Labour Department is conducting an investigation, and a stop work order has been issued. Also at that time, in Prince Edward Island, 18,000 customers were without power, and in New Brunswick, the number was 2,600.

North Korea again tests 'super-large' rocket launcher: KCNA
The missile tests also come at a time of increasing friction between Japan and South Korea, two key USA allies in the region. President Donald Trump that Washington and Pyongyang would resume talks within weeks, but they have yet to take place.

Nadal wins epic five-set US Open
Notably, the US Open victory was also Nadal's second Grand Slam title of the year after he won his 12th French Open crown in June. Perhaps the best statistic showing how close this match was - and why Nadal was able to win - lies in the rally-length stats.

Hong Kong protesters beg Trump: 'Liberate' our city
Last month, the airport was shut down for two days after protesters occupied the terminals, leading to violent clashes. Some university students continued their protest chains at lunchtime, with passing cars honking in support.

Couple Spends $120k Mistakenly Deposited into Their Account
BB&T then contacted Mrs Williams to tell her that she and her husband would be required to pay the cash back. Before the massive deposit, the couple averaged about $1,100 in their account, the Sun-Gazette reports .

Trump probed over military spending in Scotland
The House Oversight Committee has been probing the matter since April, according to Politico . Trump says he didn't advocate Pence keep at his membership.

United Nations watchdog confirms another violation in Iran nuclear deal
Furthermore, Iran is disappointed at Europe for the latter's proposed payment channel to facilitate trade between Europe and Iran. The International Atomic Energy Agency, or IAEA, began a regular meeting of its Board of Governors in Vienna on Monday.

Joshua Wong: Hong Kong protests 'must continue'
It said USA citizens and embassy staff have been the target of the propaganda and urged them to exercise increased caution. The demonstrations have taken a toll on Hong Kong's economy, which is on the verge of its first recession in a decade.

Turkey accuses U.S. of stalling on Syria 'safe zone' plans
Turkey considers the USA -backed fighters terrorists. " Turkey's options are ready", Cavusoglu said. Central Command, will visit the headquarters of the General Staff on Tuesday, said the statement.

Iran: Female soccer fan dies after setting herself on fire
Women in Iran are banned from soccer stadiums, though they are allowed at some other sports, such as volleyball. Federation Internationale de Football Association said it was "aware of that tragedy and deeply regret it".

Launch date and pricing
In an additional incentive, customers who buy an iPhone, iMac or Apple TV will get one year of AppleTV+ for free. Chu, Steve Carell, Alfre Woodard, Kumail Nanjiani, Sara Bareilles, and much more.

George Bridge scores four tries as All Blacks thrash Tonga
Head coach Steve Hansen told reporters Thursday that Smith was suffering from a loss of confidence after an injury-plagued season.

Galaxy Fold could run hundreds of optimised apps at launch
They are some of the largest apps in the world, so it's a big deal that they'll work on Samsung's new halo smartphone. Apps mentioned in particular include Spotify , Facebook, Microsoft, Twitter , Amazon Prime Video , VSCO and more.