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Asteroid that Wiped Out Dinosaurs Also Caused a Massive Tsunami that Swept the Earth, Research says

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We learned in our elementary grade science lessons that the dinosaur extinction was brought about by a town-sized asteroid smashing our planet straight.

After the colossal space rock, which was around 8.7 miles or 14 kilometers wide, crashed in the area near the Yucatan peninsula in Mexico 66 million years ago, over 75% of all animal and plant life on Earth perished.

The results of recent research indicate that the asteroid may have also caused a worldwide tsunami in addition to damaging the location it struck.

The impact-related occurrences were sufficient to create the circumstances for many species to become extinct. For example, wildfires damaged flora and habitat, global temperatures spun out of control, and aerosol, soot, and dust were in the air.

Within 48 hours of its initial impact, the world’s tsunami—which dwarfs all tsunamis known to humankind—had reached the farthest points. Thousand times more powerful than tsunamis caused by earthquakes today, according to scientists, is the energy contained in the tsunami.

The American Geophysical Union Advances designed a model to chart the tsunami’s route by examining sediment cores in order to determine the scope of the damage and reach of the tsunami.

The research organization released the journal on Tuesday. This is the first simulation on the subject to be published in a scholarly publication after passing a peer assessment.

The research also noted that thousands of kilometers away from the impact site, the impact produced a wave with a height of several miles. So, the mega-tsunami entirely erased the sediment record that existed before and during the event.

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Molly Range, the lead author of the study, said, “This tsunami was strong enough to disturb and erode sediments in ocean basins halfway around the globe, leaving either a gap in the sedimentary records or a jumble of older sediments.”

Researchers studied the energy produced by the tsunami that slammed the Indian Ocean in December 2004 to put the event on an imaginable scale. Over 230,000 people died in what is thought to be the deadliest tsunami in recorded history.

In comparison to the Indian Ocean tsunami, the tsunami caused by the asteroid was 30,000 times more powerful. Its energy was also 100,000 times greater than that of the Tonga volcano’s eruption.

 

Determining the asteroid’s path

In order to simulate what happened in the first 10 minutes following impact, Brandon Johnson, the study’s co-author, employed a tool called hydrocode. Johnson estimated that the asteroid was traveling at a speed of 26,843 miles per hour, or about 43,200 kilometers per hour, when it neared the seas off the Yucatan peninsula.

A tsunami that was 2.8 miles (4.5 kilometers) tall may have been created when it struck the ocean due to its weight and force.

More powerful waves were formed by succeeding debris after the original asteroid, which caused them to travel hundreds of kilometers after impact.

A mile-high, ring-shaped tsunami traveling across the ocean and around 137 miles (or 220 kilometers) from the impact site followed the first 10 minutes, causing disaster to all people and property.

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The result

The Central American Seaway, South Pacific Ocean, and North Atlantic Ocean were identified to have the greatest underwater currents overall based on information gleaned from sediments discovered in various oceans worldwide. Conversely, the Mediterranean Sea, South Atlantic, South Indian Ocean and North Pacific currents were less intense.

“We feel these deposits are recording the effects of the impact tsunami, and this is perhaps the most telling confirmation of the global significance of this event,” said Range.

Photo Credit: Todays Chronic

Source: CNN

Brandon Foster is a multimedia reporter. He covers a variety of topics.

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