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World Asteroid Day 2022: A look back on how one space rock wiped out dinosaurs forever

A devastating asteroid came racing through the upper atmosphere sixty-six million years ago, made its impact on land and ended species that coexisted in the world for 180 million years, in just a blink. 

Sri Lasya Written By: Sri Lasya @laasiyapriya New Delhi Published on: June 30, 2022 12:47 IST
In a minute of the impact, the asteroid had touched earth's
Image Source : INDIA TV

In a minute of the impact, the asteroid had touched earth's inner core, creating a hole nearly 100 miles wide into the seafloor.

 

World Asteroid day 2022: Around Sixty-six million years ago, Earth, the only planet with life on it, faced its first mass extinction. A devastating asteroid came racing through the upper atmosphere, made its impact on land and ended species that coexisted in the world for 180 million years, in just a blink. On World Asteroid day 2022, let us remember how one rock from space wiped out life as we knew it. 

The events that took place

  1. A massive rock hit the Central American coast 66 million years ago.
  2. In a minute of the impact, the asteroid had touched earth's inner core, creating a hole nearly 100 miles wide into the seafloor.
  3. This caused a pit of fire-filled molten rocks, releasing super-hot gas. 
  4. The hot gas reached the air, creating a mountain-high plume.
  5. Fires started miles away from the impact zone - a result of the hot air formation
  6. The impact led to the vaporization of the surrounding land
  7. The heat was so powerful that dinosaurs on the other side of the planet fell due to suffocation

India Tv - Quick, interesting facts about dinosaurs

Image Source : INDIA TV

Quick, interesting facts about dinosaurs

The consequences

The extinction of the dinosaurs is officially known as the Cretaceous–Paleogene (K-Pg) extinction event, or simply the Cretaceous-Tertiary (K-T) extinction.

The impact caused due by the asteroid is what wiped away life, and not the colossal rock itself. The impact, according to scientists, vaporised sulfur-rich rocks and led to the release of harmful gasses. They said that at least 357 billion tons (325 billion metric tons) of sulfur gas entered the atmosphere.

Temperatures globally started to skyrocket, burning all vegetation. The earth looked orange, far from the blue it appears to be from space. It took 30 years approximately for the planet to cool. 

An alternate theory

While most scientists agree with the 'Asteroid' theory, some argue that there was another cause for the extinction of dinosaurs - The Deccan Trap hypothesis.

Scientists believe that Ancient lava flows in India known as the Deccan Traps, which also match the era of the Cretaceous, also could be the reason dating back to the extinction. In the modern-day, the resulting volcanic rock covers nearly 200,000 square miles in layers that are in places more than 6,000 feet thick. Scientists say that the lava eruption led to the sky brimming with carbon dioxide and other harmful gases, thus changing the earth's climate, and making life unlivable. 

Now, palaeontologists are leaning towards a new theory that combines both. 

Read More | World Asteroid Day 2022: All you need to know about Asteroids, its history and relevance

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