Sixty-six million years ago, an asteroid blast the equivalent of 10 billion World War II atomic bombs set off wildfires, triggered tsunamis, and emitted enough sulfur into the atmosphere to block out the Sun. Now, a new study led by The University of Texas at Austin has confirmed it by finding hard evidence in the hundreds of feet of rocks that filled the impact crater within the first 24 hours after impact. "In this case, you instantly made a hole with the impact and buried it with all these dynamic processes", Guelick said.
The Impossible Magnitude-12 Earthquake That Changed Our World, The Galaxy reported that the asteroid itself was so large that, even at the moment of impact, the top of it might have still towered more than a mile above the cruising altitude of a 747, writes author Peter Brannen in Ends of the World.
Now, a large team of scientists led by eggheads at the University of Texas, Austin, in the U.S. reckon they have uncovered the rubble that rushed in to pack the gaping hole after the asteroid struck.
The new research was based on rocks collected in 2016 from the Chicxulub impact site off the coast of the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico.
Scientists have thrown light on the day when a giant asteroid smashed into our planet - unleashing a bad firestorm which blotted out the sun, and killed the dinoaurs.
When they examined a portion of the drilled cores from the rocks that filled the crater left by the asteroid impact that wiped out the dinosaurs. The impact produced a tsunami more than a thousand feet tall, and at the same time gouged a massive crater of melted, deformed rock known as shocked rock. It then created a massive heat pulse that raised temperatures in regions over 900 miles away from the impact zone.More news: Apple debuts Apple Watch Series 5 with 'always on' Retina display
More news: US accuses Iran of 'possible undeclared nuclear activities'
More news: Australia and United States top second round groups at FIBA World Cup
Inside the crater, researchers found charcoal and soil fungi in, or just above, layers of sand that show signs of being deposited by rising waters. "We fried them and then we froze them", Gulick said.
Many dinosaurs would have died that day, but others may have perished from the atmospheric fall-out that followed. That backs the theory that the asteroid vaporized the sulfur minerals at the impact site sending it into the atmosphere which reflected sunlight away and ushered in the cooling period. The area around the crater is full of sulfur-rich rocks, and yet no sulfur was found within the core samples. "This is the most eventful day, nearly in the history of the planet".
The new research allows scientists "to get a really clear snapshot" of what happened that day, according to Derrick Pitts, chief astronomer at the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia.
The team believes the amount of sulfur released into the atmosphere has been underestimated.
Interestingly, life quickly recovered at the site. If you were elsewhere on Earth the first effect might well be the natural disaster energy arriving through the ground from the impact or perhaps the arrival of ejecta from the crater raining down and causing heating and wildfires.