Updates‎ > ‎

2019-03-29. Fossil Site Reveals Day That Meteor Hit Earth and, Maybe, Wiped Out Dinosaurs.

posted Mar 30, 2019, 7:38 AM by Alan Gould   [ updated Apr 6, 2019, 9:13 AM ]
By William J. Broad and Kenneth Chang, The New York Times. [https://www.nytimes.com/2019/03/29/science/dinosaurs-extinction-asteroid.html] For GSS Life and Climate chapter 9 and a Changing Cosmos chapter 1. Excerpt: Sixty-six million years ago, a giant meteor slammed into Earth off the coast of modern-day Mexico. Firestorms incinerated the landscape for miles around. Even creatures thousands of miles away were doomed on that fateful day, if not by fire and brimstone, then by mega-earthquakes and waves of unimaginable size. Now, scientists have unearthed a remarkable trove of fossils that appear to date from the very day of the impact. The burial site consists of more than four feet of sediments and organic remains that were dumped in North Dakota almost instantly and transformed into rock over the eons. It evidently captures, in unparalleled detail, the repercussions of the giant doomsday rock.... ...When the meteor smashed into waters near what is now Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula, it left a giant crater known as Chicxulub and prompted upheavals thousands of miles away, including what is now North Dakota. Within hours and perhaps minutes of the titanic collision, sea creatures were swept inland by tsunamis and earthquakes, tossed together and deposited with a diverse array of landlocked life, including trees, flowers and vanished types of freshwater fish. ...The jumble was swiftly entombed, and exquisitely preserved. Permeating the deposit were tiny spheres of clay and glass, known as tektites, which formed as molten rock, ejected by the impact, showered from the sky.... See also Science Magazine article Astonishment, skepticism greet fossils claimed to record dinosaur-killing asteroid impact, 4/1/2019 by Colin Barras. [https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2019/04/astonishment-skepticism-greet-fossils-claimed-record-dinosaur-killing-asteroid-impact]