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What killed the dinosaurs finally revealed


An artist's rendition of what happened over 60 million years ago
An artist's rendition of what happened over 60 million years ago

Staff writers

February 8, 2013 — Another of the world's great mysteries might be put to rest after a group of researchers believe they know what happened to the dinosaurs.

The Chicxulub crater is a prehistoric impact crater buried underneath the Yucatán Peninsula in Mexico
The Chicxulub crater is a prehistoric impact crater buried underneath the Yucatán Peninsula in Mexico

Scientists at the University of California's, Berkeley Geochronology Center have discovered what took out the dinosaurs millions of years ago. 

An asteroid packing the blast of two million nuclear bombs crashed into the Yucatan Peninsula over 60 million years ago.

The impact sent tons of ash into the atmosphere, blocking out sunlight and dropping global temperatures. 

“The impact was clearly the final straw that pushed Earth past the tipping point,” said Paul Renne, BGC director, in a press release. “We have shown that these events are synchronous to within a gnat’s eyebrow, and therefore the impact clearly played a major role in extinctions, but it probably wasn't just the impact.”

Renne believes that a sustained series of volcanic eruptions in India wreaked havoc on global ecosystems while the asteroid sent the creatures on the path of no return.     

Scientists believe a great collision occurred at the Chicxulub (pronounced "cheek'-she-loob") crater off the Yucatan coast in Mexico.

It is believed to have been formed by an object almost 10 km wide, that sent debris such as ash and tektites (Glassy spheres) into the atmosphere.

Renne's findings came after they noticed discrepancies between the ages that dinosaurs and other life forms went extinct. 

The research team developed a new technique to date geological features and test their hypothesis.

They compared samples from Haiti, which reflect the asteroid impact site with the Hell Creek Formation in Montana, a source of many dinosaur fossils.

The findings showed that rather than the gap between the asteroid impact and dinosaurs dying off being around 180,000 years, it actually was closer to 33,000. 

Renne's research also shows that the earth went through six different shifts in its mean temperature almost 1 million years before the impact. 

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