November 28, 2023


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The asteroid that ended the dinosaurs also halted a major life process on Earth: study

The asteroid that ended the dinosaurs also halted a major life process on Earth: study

The global climate may have cooled by as much as 15 degrees Celsius. (representational image)

The age of the dinosaurs ended approximately 66 million years ago, after a huge asteroid collided with a shallow sea near what we now call Mexico, creating a crater the size of a city. However, the exact sequence of events that led to the mass extinction of about 75% of Earth’s species in the years following this catastrophic impact has remained shrouded in mystery.

Previous studies had suggested that the release of sulfur during the impact, along with soot from widespread forest fires, heralded a global winter with lower temperatures. But new research released Monday and Published in the magazine Natural earth sciencesIt is hypothesized that the main cause may have been fine dust, formed from crushed rock that was ejected high into the Earth’s atmosphere following the impact.

The study said that this fine dust largely blocked sunlight, preventing plants from photosynthesis, a biological process vital to sustaining life, for about two years after the catastrophic event.

“The cessation of photosynthesis for about two years after the impact caused severe challenges (for life). It collapsed the food web, setting off a chain reaction of extinction,” lead author and planetary scientist Jim Burke-Sennell, a postdoctoral researcher at the observatory. Royal in Belgium. , according to CNN.

Scientists used the power of technology to do some calculations. They have developed a new computer model to simulate the global climate after an asteroid strike. The computer model was built on the basis of published information on Earth’s climate at the time, as well as new data from sediment samples taken from the Tanis fossil site in North Dakota that captured a 20-year period following the strike. .

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In the new study, scientists also analyzed data from samples of silicate dust particles that were propelled into the atmosphere in a plume before returning to Earth.

It took 15 years for the dust particles to finally settle to the Earth’s surface. The researchers noted that the global climate may have dropped by as much as 15 degrees Celsius during this period.