Asteroid that led to dinosaur extinction hit at deadly angle

James Marshall
May 28, 2020

The asteroid that killed the dinosaur hit Earth at the worst possible angle for the species living here at the time.

The asteroid leapt over to Earth at a high angle of around 60 levels, taking full advantage of the quantity of gas as well as "hazardous debris" released right into the top environment at the minute of crash- "the very thing that led to a nuclear winter", Collins stated.

The impact triggered a planet-wide nuclear winter, wiping out two-thirds of all life on Earth in the process. That's basically the worst case scenario for such an event, and he ensured that the asteroid attack had the maximum effect.

The cataclysmic impact kicked up enough debris and gases into the upper atmosphere to radically change the climate, dooming Tyrannosaurus rex and everything it ever hunted to extinction. "This was likely worsened by the fact that it struck at one of the deadliest possible angles", lead scientist Gareth Collins, of Imperial College London's Department of Earth Science as well as Engineering, stated in a statement.

"We know this was one of the worst-case scenarios for impact mortality, because it put more risky debris in the upper atmosphere and scattered it everywhere - which led to a nuclear winter", he added. Their findings had been printed within the journal Nature Communications on Tuesday.

For the study, the researchers studied the asymmetries in what remains of the impact crater the asteroid produced when it crashed into Earth. Rather, scientists say it was a snowball of devastating climate effects that followed the event, which released billions of tons of vaporized rock, sulfur, carbon dioxide and water vapor into the air, and enveloped the globe.

This included recent results from an offshore drilling expedition which brought up rocks containing evidence of the extreme forces that were generated.

At Chicxulub, these centers are aligned in a southwest-northeast direction, with the crater center in between the peak-ring and mantle-uplift centers.

At Chicxulub crater, these features are aligned in a southwest-northeast direction, the study said, and the team's 3D simulations at an angle of 60 degrees reproduced these observations nearly exactly.

Earlier research have modeled the affect, however exclusively checked out its early levels, moderately than the chain of occasions it set off.

These simulations are the first to continue beyond this intermediate point in the formation of the crater and reproduce the final stage of the crater's formation, in which the transient crater collapses to form the final structure (see video).

Development of the Chicxulub at 60°impact.

The aftermath of the impact rests under the Yucatan Peninsula, with the crater's centre near the town of Chicxulub.

The incoming angle of 60 degrees was the worst possible scenario seen in the simulations, as it maximized the transfer of energy from this impact into adjacent rocks - in other words, it was the flawless angle to throw as much of them into the atmosphere as possible.

This information and other data were used to build a model that simulated the formation of the Chicxulub crater, determining the direction from which the asteroid came and the angle. But the trajectory and direction of that impact is still a topic of debate.

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