Sunday, May 19, 2024

Study: Asteroid That Killed Dinosaurs Caused Winter That Lasted 15 Years

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The theory that the main cause of the extinction of the dinosaurs was a large asteroid that collided with Earth has prevailed for years, and new evidence has emerged to confirm that the asteroid caused a deadly global winter decades later.

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It is known that an asteroid hit the coast of present-day Mexico 66 million years ago, killing three-quarters of the world’s species, including the dinosaurs.

But the exact nature of the event caused by the asteroid Chicxulub remains a matter of debate, and recent theories suggest that soot from the impact or a massive fire may have blocked sunlight and engulfed the world. A long winter.

A study published Monday restores momentum to an earlier theory that dust kicked up by an asteroid darkened the sky for long periods of time.

Fine silica dust (powder sand) can remain in the atmosphere for up to fifteen years. According to the study, results published in the journal Nature Geoscience show that the lack of light can reduce average temperatures by up to 15 degrees Celsius.

In the 1980s, Luis and Walter Alvarez, a father and son, talked about the possibility that the dinosaurs might have gone extinct after an asteroid impact changed the Earth’s climate by coating it in dust.

The theory remained in doubt until a massive crater created by the asteroid Chicxulub was discovered about ten years later in present-day Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula.

Osgur Karadekin, a researcher at the Royal Belgian Laboratory who participated in the preparation of the study, explained to Agence France-Presse that the theory that sulfur, not dust, may have changed the climate was widely accepted because it was believed to be dust. There is no appropriate size to “stay in the atmosphere”.

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An international team has been able to identify dust particles resulting from an asteroid impact discovered at the Tanis Fossil Site in North Dakota, USA. Its measurement ranges from 0.8 to 8 micrometers.

By inputting their data into climate models similar to those used today, the researchers concluded that this dust played a much larger role than previously estimated.

The simulations revealed that three-quarters of the total material that fell into the atmosphere was dust, 24% sulfur and only 1% soot.

According to Karadek, the dust particles “completely blocked the process of photosynthesis” in the plants for at least a year, leading to a “catastrophic collapse” of the plants.

Stuart Wagner
Stuart Wagner
"Professional coffee fan. Total beer nerd. Hardcore reader. Alcohol fanatic. Evil twitter buff. Friendly tv scholar."

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