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Science & Technology

Extinction asteroid caused an 18-month winter

By T.K. Randall
August 23, 2017 · Comment icon 9 comments

The impact proved utterly devastating. Image Credit: NASA / Donald E. Davis
Scientists have revealed the immense destructiveness of the asteroid that wiped out the dinosaurs.
The space rock that struck our planet 65 million years ago proved so devastating that it is quite remarkable that anything at all managed to survive the apocalyptic conditions that followed.

The impact itself, which would have killed every living thing for hundreds of square miles, triggered massive tsunamis, earthquakes and volcanic eruptions across the entire planet.

Thick clouds of smoke, dust and ash encircled the globe, blotting out the Sun and bringing about an extended period of freezing darkness that would have lasted up to 18 months.
Even when the dust finally settled and the Sun re-emerged, the damage done to the ozone layer by chemical reactions in the upper atmosphere would have robbed the planet of its protective barrier, exposing whatever life was left to harmful ultraviolet radiation.

By the time the effects of the asteroid impact settled down, 80% of life on Earth had gone extinct.

"The extinction of many of the large animals on land could have been caused by the immediate aftermath of the impact, but animals that lived in the oceans or those that could burrow underground or slip underwater temporarily could have survived," said researcher Dr Charles Bardeen.

"Our study picks up the story after the initial effects - after the earthquakes and the tsunamis and the broiling. We wanted to look at the long-term consequences of the amount of soot we think was created and what those consequences might have meant for the animals that were left."

Source: Independent | Comments (9)




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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by qxcontinuum 7 years ago
I believe the asteroid was component of  a bigger celestial body to which Mars has collided or frictionned. Its remains from deep impact were later captured by Saturn forming its rings and wiped out Mars atmosphere very dense and similar in composition to that of Earth at that time. This theory can explain why half of planet Mars is smoother and very different than the other half and it also explaining numerous fragments from Mars falling down on Earth in a few occasions. 
Comment icon #2 Posted by Tom the Photon 7 years ago
... and I believe the Moon is the remains of the Death Star after aeons collecting space dust and then sprinkled with cheese.  This theory can explain why they speak English in the Star Wars films and why I'm safely locked away in a padded cell. Anyone can articulate nonsensical theories but without credible evidence and a plausible mechanism all your suggestion can be is a belief, no better than a religious notion about flying invisible omnipotent deities who made humans to worship them. Back to the article - why is this even featured here?  Does it add anything to our prior knowledge?  T... [More]
Comment icon #3 Posted by RoofGardener 7 years ago
Hmm.. .if we're just talking about dust settling, then 18 months doesn't seem unreasonable ?
Comment icon #4 Posted by Socks Junior 7 years ago
A giant impact causing hemispherical asymmetry on Mars isn't out of the question. The other parts of that theory were a little off. 
Comment icon #5 Posted by qxcontinuum 7 years ago
that is what Astronomy does as well. It elaborates a hypothese based on observations and finds clues to prove it. 
Comment icon #6 Posted by Myles 7 years ago
qxcontinuum di start with "I believe".      Did you not see that?  
Comment icon #7 Posted by paperdyer 7 years ago
Well if the dust and debris caused an 18 month winter and the dust absorbs heat and sun rays, is the article trying to say it took longer than 18 months to rebuild the ozone layer?
Comment icon #8 Posted by Tom the Photon 7 years ago
I'm happy to consider any sensible theory but the scenario qx suggests is clearly nonsense.  Many features on Mars are billions of years old, and there is no evidence whatsoever to support a catastrophic impact event there 65 million years ago.  Saturn's rings are notoriously difficult to age but recent low estimates date them as 100 million years old, far older than the asteroid impact event that killed the dinosaurs.  The total mass of all Martian rocks collected on Earth totals about 100 kg: hardly a torrent that needs a catastrophic origin.   This is a subject I knew virtually nothing ... [More]
Comment icon #9 Posted by I'mConvinced 7 years ago
Whereas you are clearly an extremely intelligent individual who likes to make themselves feel better by belittling others.  Did you even stop to consider the age or ability of the poster? Perhaps you could have just informed the poster about the facts and not had to go to town on how stupid you think they are?  If this is how you respond on these boards and think this theory is 'unintelligent drivel' then boy are you in for some moderation.


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