Asteroid that killed the dinosaurs hit at "deadliest possible" angle

Asteroid that led to dinosaur extinction hit at deadly angle

"What planetary defence is all about is developing all the capabilities we need to detect the possibility of potential asteroid impacts with Earth, warn of predicted impacts, and then either prevent them or mitigate their possible effects".

The colossal house rock that worn out the dinosaurs 66 million years in the past collided with Earth on the excellent angle for dying and destruction, shrouding the planet in a catastrophic "nuclear winter", a brand new research has discovered.

In combination with these 3D simulations, which were the first to fully model the event from start (the impact) to finish (the final crater formation), the team used geophysical data from the site in Mexico.

For the dinosaurs, the worst-case situation is strictly what occurred.

"The asteroid strike unleashed an unbelievable quantity of climate-changing gases into the environment, triggering a series of occasions that led to the extinction of the dinosaurs", stated Gareth Collins of the Imperial School, who headed up the analysis workforce. Many scientists originally believed that the asteroid struck at a 90-degree angle, but this was "unlikely", the study noted.

"The Chicxulub impact was a very bad day for the dinosaurs", Professor Gareth Collins from the Imperial College London and the paper's lead author told AFP.


The results of the study were published Tuesday in Nature Communications. The simulations, which used a 17-km diameter asteroid with a density of 2630 kgm3 and a speed of 12 km/s, were performed on the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) DiRAC High Performance Computing Facility. However, the crater left by the intruder's impact has now revealed that it was not only the asteroid's mass that led to such dramatic consequences. Under the extreme conditions created by an asteroid impact, such rocks would have decomposed to release enormous quantities of carbon dioxide, sulphur compounds, and water vapor into the atmosphere.

The sulfur would have been particularly hazardous as it rapidly forms aerosols - tiny particles that would have blocked the sun's rays, halting photosynthesis in plants and rapidly cooling the climate. This eventually contributed to the mass extinction event that killed 75 percent of life on Earth.

"Large craters like Chicxulub are formed in a matter of minutes, and involve a spectacular rebound of rock beneath the crater".

"Regardless of being buried beneath nearly a kilometre of sedimentary rocks, it's outstanding that geophysical information reveals a lot in regards to the crater construction - sufficient to explain the path and angle of the affect", stated Dr Auriol Rae of the College of Freiburg, a co-author on the research. Ongoing outcomes likewise educated Their examination from boring into the 200 km-wide craters, which raised rocks containing proof of the outrageous powers produced by the effect.

"Comparison of 3D numerical simulations of Chicxulub-scale impacts with geophysical observations suggests that the Chicxulub crater was formed by a steeply-inclined (45-60° to horizontal) impact from the northeast; several lines of evidence rule out a low angle ( 30°) impact", the study reads.

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