Scientists find possible origin of asteroid that killed dinosaurs
The asteroid that was responsible to wipe out the dinosaurs from the face of the Earth had hit near Mexico. The large rocky object, dubbed as Chicxulub impactor, had an estimated width of roughly 6 miles (10 km).
The asteroid produced a crater that covered an area of around 90 miles and the impact has been credited with not just the extinction of the dinosaurs, but also for around 75% of total species at the time.
The mass extinction of dinosaurs and several other species took place 66 million years ago and has come to be widely accepted as the end of the Mesozoic era.
SwRI in the news: Scientists locate likely origin for the dinosaur-killing asteroidhttps://t.co/8myNh88HX8
— Southwest Research Institute (@SwRI)
August 16, 2021
Discovery of dinosaur-killing asteroid: What do we know?
The scientists have been able to figure out where the marauding asteroid originated.
With the use of computer models, the researchers studied 1,30,000 model asteroids and concluded that this one had orbited the Sun with others in the main asteroid belt before crashing into the Earth.
According to the researchers at the Texas-based Southwest Research Institute, the impactor likely came from the outer half of the main asteroid belt which is between Mars and Jupiter.
They further added that the processes that deliver the large asteroids to Earth from that region occur at least 10 times more frequently than previously thought.
The lead researcher Dr. David Nesvorny and the colleagues Dr. Simone Marchi and Dr. William Bottke also informed that several studies were conducted over the past decade on the mass extinction that ended dinosaurs but each study had led to new questions.
Asteroid that killed dinosaurs: Latest discovery answers critical questions:
According to Dr. Bottke, two critical questions had remained unanswered. One of them was regarding the source of the impactor and another one was about the frequency of these Earth-crashing events.
So, the scientists started knowing more about the asteroid, which further led them to identify the Chicxulub impactor as a carbonaceous chondrite. Several objects surrounding the Earth have similar compositions to the impactor but these were much smaller in size.
Dr. Nesvorny further adds that the team decided to look for where the siblings of the Chicxulub impactor might be hiding.
The researchers then used Pleaides Supercomputer of NASA and to their surprise, they found that the 6-mile wide asteroids from the outer half of the asteroid belt strike the Earth at least 10 times more frequently than were previously found.