Dino-Killing Asteroid Impact Dwarfed by Earlier Space Rock Crash

Astronomy
Asteroid

Scientists have reconstructed an extremely old asteroid crash that was much stronger than the one that annihilated dinosaurs 65 million years ago.

This brutal impact happened 3.26 billion years ago and the asteroid was four times bigger than dinosaur-killing rock – 37 to 58 kilometers. The created crater was 500 km wide, and seismic waves it generated were stronger than any produced by a known earthquake, according to researchers.

Two Stanford University scientists have decided to examine details of this impact after studying rocks in South Africa. Although asteroid did not hit earth in South Africa, but in an unknown location that scientists may never find, yet it lefts its imprints all over the world. It disrupted the planet’s crust and possibly even caused a transition from an early tectonic regime to the modern one.

“This is providing significant support for the idea that the impact may have been responsible for this major shift in tectonics,” says UCLA geologist Frank Kyte.

The huge collision probably caused some serious problems for life on Earth, which started before the impact, roughly 3.8 billion years ago. According to the scientists, it is likely that oceans were boiling and the atmosphere was filled with hot dust.

The impact could have killed most of the life-forms that existed then. Despite its dramatic consequences, this impact was probably not unusual at the time. During the so-called Late Heavy Bombardment period, which began 4 billion years ago and lasted for estimated 1 billion years, many such space collisions occurred. Other planets in the inner solar system and their crater-filled surfaces are the best proof.

Asteroid

 

Simulation of a large asteroid impacting earth in the video below:

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Andrew J. Blanche

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