Dinosaur-killing asteroid impact triggered months-long ‘mega-earthquake’, research shows

Dinosaur-killing asteroid impact triggered months-long 'mega-earthquake', research shows
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The devastating asteroid impact that wiped out the dinosaurs may have triggered a powerful “mega-earthquake” that shook the Earth for months.

66 million years ago, a massive body in the solar system: now known as the Chicxulub asteroid – collided with the Earth, excavating a huge 180 km (110-mile-wide impact crater in what would later become the Yucatan Peninsula.

This collision set off a chain of catastrophic events that, combined with the devastation caused by the initial attack, wiped out 75 percent of all life on Earth.

Now, new research analyzing geological records from this traumatic period in our planet’s history has revealed that the devastating impact may have triggered a “mega-earthquake” that lasted for weeks or even months before abating.

The research was presented Oct. 9 at the annual meeting of the Geological Society of America. by Hermann Bermudez of Montclair State University, one of the scientists who worked on the study.

In 2014, Bermúdez discovered a series of tiny spheres and glass shards, about 1 millimeter in size, buried among the sediments on Gorgonilla Island, located off the western coast of Colombia.

These tiny relics were formed the day the Chicxulub asteroid hit the surface. The impact shed traces of traces, which, accordingly, that,

At the time the asteroid hit, the site that Bermúdez had excavated was actually underwater. Although it was about 3,000 km (1,860 mi) from the impact site, the underwater landscape was deformed by the force of the event. Traces of this deformation, which extended 10 to 15 m (30 to 50 ft) underground, are still evident to this day.

Bermúdez and his co-investigators also documented faults, cracks, and evidence of a process called liquefaction, when water-saturated sediments flow freely like water under the vibratory influence of an earthquake, in Mexico and the United States.

according to a Press release from the Geological Society of America (GSA) describing the presentation, the earthquake that shook the Earth in the wake of the extinction event was about 50,000 times more powerful than the magnitude 9.1 earthquake that devastated Sumatra in 2004.

The researchers found that the disruption caused by the tremor extended through the sediment layer from the point where the asteroid hit, to where the team found the tiny glass spheres on Gorgonilla Island.

Geological evidence shows that the super-earthquake must have lasted the weeks, or even months, that debris ejected from the impact would have taken to descend through the atmosphere, and subsequently the ocean environment, to settle on the surface. seabed.

Just above this layer, the team discovered fern spores, indicating that the environment had settled enough at this point to allow plant life to reestablish itself.

The damage caused by the earthquake would have added to the devastation caused by the powerful tsunamis and the circulation of atmospheric debris caused by the event.

NASA and its partners recently completed the world’s first planetary defense mission — the Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) — during which he crashed a spacecraft into the surface of a distant asteroid in an attempt to alter its orbital path.

The agency hopes this mission will be the first step on the road to developing an effective strategy that could one day save our race, and all life on Earth, from the dangers of another potentially devastating asteroid impact.

Be sure to check IGN science page to keep up with the biggest and weirdest developments in the world of science.

Anthony Wood is a freelance science writer for IGN.

Image credit: Vadim Sadovski

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