Where did the meteorite that wiped out the dinosaurs fall?

where the meteorite fell that wiped out the dinosaurs

The extinction of the dinosaurs occurred approximately 66 million years ago when the asteroid known as “Chicxulub” collided with Earth, causing the eradication of numerous species. However, the precise location of the impact and the fate of the remains of this colossal celestial object remain a mystery. Many people wonder where the meteorite fell that wiped out the dinosaurs.

In this article we are going to tell you where the meteorite that extinct the dinosaurs fell and its characteristics.

Chicxulub asteroid

huge meteorite

According to the University of Chile, the impact of the asteroid caused a catastrophic event of mass destruction on Earth, with an energy equivalent to 50.000 times that of the entire existing nuclear arsenal.

The magnitude of the impact was truly remarkable, with estimates placing its diameter between 12 and 15 kilometers, and some research even speculating that it may have reached a staggering 80 kilometers. The speed at which it collided with Earth was equally astonishing, traveling at a speed of 20 kilometers per second, equivalent to an astonishing 59 times the speed of sound.

The arrival of this catastrophic event resulted in the extinction of approximately 75% of ancient creatures, leaving nothing but their fossilized remains buried beneath the rubble. Such was the magnitude of this impact that it forever altered the trajectory of life on our planet.

Where did the meteorite that wiped out the dinosaurs fall?

dinosaur and meteorite

When studying this phenomenon, the researchers concluded that the impact zone was located in the town of Chicxulub, located on the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico, hence its name. According to National Geographic, the term "Chicxulub" comes from the Mayan language and, curiously, It can be translated as "devil's tail", "devil's flea" or even "place of the burning horn."

According to scientific theories, it is believed that this town, inhabited by a modest population of just over 4.000 people, was the epicenter of the asteroid impact. NASA estimates indicate that the impact caused a crater that measured approximately 180 kilometers in diameter and reached a depth of about 900 meters.

Over millions of years, the enormity of this phenomenon has diminished, making it less evident today. It was not until the 1980s that the hypothesis proposed by scientists Luis Álvarez and Walter Álvarez came to light.

Later, other experts confirmed and ultimately agreed that this was the precise location of the important event. While there may not be a visible crater, there are discernible traces on Earth that serve as evidence of its appearance.

Dr. Gary Kinsland, a professor of geology at the University of Louisiana, has been studying Chicxulub since 1994. When he talks about this topic with school-aged children, he uses a simple analogy: Imagine that you place a bowl on your bed and cover it with sheets and blankets. The bowl would only be visible as a slight indentation.

While the large cavity may no longer exist, if you examine the indentation in your bed, you will notice that it still lines up with the edge of the container beneath it. “This observation allows us to obtain information about the underlying structure,” explains the researcher. Unfortunately, No remains of the meteorite were found.

Additionally, NASA captured additional subtle elements from space that revealed the impact area: a semicircular structure that was described as "almost perfect." This observation was made by a group of pioneering researchers who were among the first to propose Chicxulub as the location of the impact.

During the exploration, scientists were surprised by the magnetic and gravitational data that the Mexican oil company had previously collected in its search for oil. This data revealed an expansive, perfectly circular formation, which they had recognized as an impact crater. Kevin Pope, a NASA scientist involved in the study of Mayan archaeology, gave more details about this remarkable find.

The fate of the asteroid remains is unknown

meteorite crater

Only a small portion of the colossal celestial object managed to survive. Researchers highlight that numerous fragments were forcibly ejected from our planet, but only a few have been preserved or are difficult to locate.

According to their hypothesis, a part of the material was incinerated during the collision, while the remaining fragments They were gradually buried several hundred meters below the surface over millions of years..

However, remnants of the asteroid can still be found in Yucatán, although in small quantities. A recent study published in the prestigious journal Science in 2021 revealed that researchers discovered traces of asteroid dust within the impact area. This fact can be attributed to the existence of iridium, a metallic element commonly found in asteroids, present in the crater.

According to the article, the data under scrutiny have uncovered a notable iridium anomaly within the maximum ring sequence of the Chicxulub impact structure, which It was obtained from a drill core recovered during IODP-ICDP Expedition 364.

The University of Austin led an ocean expedition during which they unearthed rocks from the Yucatan seafloor crater core. This groundbreaking discovery involved the identification of iridium spikes that provided substantial evidence in favor of the Chicxulub asteroid theory.

Additional findings

Additional findings have emerged over the years that are believed to potentially originate from the Chicxulub impact. Recently, in 2022, The New York Times published an article announcing the unearthing of fossilized remains in a deposit located in North Dakota, United States. These findings raise the possibility that these fragments may be linked to the asteroid responsible for the Chicxulub event.

During a talk with NASA, Robert DePalma, a paleontologist leading the research, mentioned that the discovered remains could provide valuable information about the nature of this object. While it is believed to be an asteroid, there is a possibility that it could also be a comet.

During that time, he expressed confidence in the ongoing process of identifying the mysterious object, stating: "Once we are able to identify its nature, we will undoubtedly be amazed by our discovery." DePalma's theory dates back to remnants of molten rock that were forcefully ejected during the impact, undergoing a transformation into glass spherules as they gradually cooled. These spherules, according to the expert, "settled within the tree resin, which acted as a protective amber envelope, preserving their original state." What DePalma discovered were unaltered rocks trapped within these glass formations.

I hope that with this information you can learn more about where the meteorite that extinct the dinosaurs fell and its characteristics.

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