Posts Tagged ‘extinction’

What with all these earthquakes and tsunamis occuring with more sensational rapidity in the news, a recent a scientific study concluded that it was definitely an asteroid impact that wiped out the dinosaurs during the Cretaceous period.

A panel of 41 scientists from across the world reviewed 20 years’ worth of research to try to confirm the cause of the so-called Cretaceous-Tertiary (KT) extinction, which created a “hellish environment” around 65 million years ago and wiped out more than half of all species on the planet.

Scientific opinion was split over whether the extinction was caused by an asteroid or by volcanic activity in the Deccan Traps in what is now India, where there were a series of super volcanic eruptions that lasted around 1.5 million years.

The new study, conducted by scientists from Europe, the United States, Mexico, Canada and Japan and published in the journal Science, found that a 15-kilometre (9 miles) wide asteroid slamming into Earth at Chicxulub in what is now Mexico was the culprit.

The rest of the article is here.

I found a similar description (and the image above) from 6 year old, Brian Lean’s blog (well he’s probably eight by now).  

Anyway, going back to tsunamis, I encountered a couple of years back a threat assessment of tsunamis and asteroid impacts, which occur about once every 6,000 years on average. Based on that 2006 article, at least 50 million people are at risk in such an event–which is roughly the number of lives who live along coastal areas.

Gulf of Mexico: impact area of asteroid which caused dinosaur extinction.

In the image above, should a similar asteroid impact the same spot in Mexico, the colors illustrate the radial tsunamis that such an impact would generate.

Just food for thought these days.

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