Despite the extreme climatic situation facing the world today, you and I have the incredible fortune of living in the 21st century and not in the Cretaceous. Just 65 million years ago, a huge asteroid crashed on our planet, whose impact is comparable to that of one million nuclear bombs. Not surprisingly, the consequences were catastrophic. In 2010, the journal Science published the work of an international research team that spent 20 years exploring the possible causes of the mass extinction of those years. Scientists came to the conclusion that the fall of the asteroid triggered a series of chain reactions that led to disaster. Today, the evidence has increased significantly. But what do scientists know about this asteroid?
Asteroids – the cause of mass extinction
It is no secret to any of us that mass extinctions do not happen overnight – this is a long process that can take thousands of years. Although we are bombarded daily with small fragments of stones from the solar system that enter the atmosphere, our planet usually reaches a small size or not large enough asteroids to cause significant damage. However, the scientists realize that sooner or later a similar catastrophe will be repeated.
But how exactly will the events develop? You can discuss this and other articles in our incredibly comfortable telegram chat
When a celestial body 15 kilometers in diameter collides with the Earth, it destroys several kilometers of surface in seconds. Such a blow can cause hot flashes and form a cloud of dust covering the sun for tens or hundreds of years. Can you imagine a similar scenario? The animals felt all these consequences 65 million years ago. According to experts, the collision will form a 200-kilometer crater when such an asteroid collapses onto our planet, and there will be a series of events that will cause a global winter that will make up most of life within a few days on earth can destroy. In addition, the fall of an asteroid can cause tsunami and earthquakes.
Some scientists believed for years that dinosaurs, pterosaurs and other species were extinct 65 million years ago due to a series of volcanic eruptions in modern India that lasted about 1.5 million years. The eruption of Deccan traps (unusually active volcanoes) dumped enough basalt lava to fill the Black Sea twice, leading to global cooling of the atmosphere and acid rain.
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And yet this hypothesis should not contradict the fall of the asteroid. For example, a study by University of California scientists published in early 2019 shows how exposure to an asteroid can cause "simultaneous" volcanic eruptions on the other side of the world (Mexico and India are practically antithetical). According to available data, marine and terrestrial ecosystems were rapidly destroyed when the Cretaceous Paleogene disappeared, which does not correspond to the theory of volcanoes. However, there is strong evidence that the gases released by the eruptions after the collision could have caused global warming in the last 400,000 years of the Cretaceous. By the way, we recently told you why the destruction of an asteroid that can destroy our civilization is not as easy as we thought.