Dinosaur Asteroid's Trajectory was 'Perfect Storm'

An asteroid now known as Chicxulub (after a nearby town) struck earth some 66 million years ago and led to the extinction of the dinosaurs. Not all at once, but the impact plunged the globe into a dark and cold period that the large reptile could not withstand. Plenty of other species died out, too, allowing small mammals to take over. New research reveals why it was so deadly.

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The space object, which wiped out 75% of all species including the dinosaurs, hit the worst possible place on the planet and – according to new research – at the most lethal angle.

Investigations at the crater site, together with computer simulations, suggest the impactor dug into the crust at an inclination of up to 60 degrees.

This exacerbated the climatic fallout.

We know that the target rocks, in what is now the Gulf of Mexico, contained huge volumes of sulphur from the mineral gypsum. When this material was thrown high into the atmosphere and mixed with water vapour, it produced a “global winter”.

And the angle of attack ensured this environmental crisis was intense and prolonged.

Read how they determined this and what it meant at BBC News. -via Damn Interesting

(Image credit: NASA)

Source: neatorama

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