Where Did the Asteroid that Killed the Dinosaurs Land

A mountain-sized asteroid slammed into Earth 66 million years ago, dooming the dinosaurs and bringing about their extinction. It struck near the coast of Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula.

Catastrophic collisions triggered tsunamis that engulfed large portions of the coast, and firestorms that may have encompassed the whole earth(opens in new tab). The blast also sent several tons of dust and vaporized rock into the air, which blocked the sun for many hours. Together with the soot from all those fires, it all contributed to a dark sky.

Worse still, the sulfur-rich vapor that was released into the atmosphere rained back down on Earth, forming sulfuric acid aerosols that acidified the oceans.

The K-T mass extinction, which wiped out three-quarters of all species on Earth, including non-avian dinosaurs, happened as a result of this and other related haymakers. (Extensive volcanism in the Deccan Traps area of Western India and long-term climatic change are thought to have contributed to the devastation, according to experts.)

The asteroid that caused all of this destruction has been removed or nearly destroyed in a kamikaze crash. Scientists, on the other hand, have been able to estimate it in some capacity during the last few decades. The infamous dino-killer is known for a few things.

The Day the Sky Fell

A massive asteroid collision with Earth, according to Nobel Prize-winning physicist Luis Walter Alvarez and his geologist son Walter, produced a layer of iridium-rich clay in 1980. The dinosaurs died out abruptly due to the asteroid impact’s immediate devastation in the surrounding area as well as its far-reaching secondary consequences.

Walter Alvarez (left) and his son Walter (right) are famous for their hypothesis that an asteroid smacked into our planet 66 million years ago, killing off all non-bird dinosaurs as well as many other creatures. Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory/Wikimedia Commons

Large, rocky bodies that orbit the Sun are known as asteroids. They’re all around a meter or two in diameter. A meteorite is a fragment of an asteroid that makes it to Earth intact.

The Alvarez theory for the mass extinction at the end of the Mesozoic Era was originally contentious, but it is now widely accepted.

Because we’ve identified the crater, an asteroid impact is supported by really good evidence,’ Paul says. On the seafloor off the coast of Mexico, it’s now largely buried. It’s the same age as the non-bird dinosaurs’ extinction, which may be observed in the rock record globally.’

The Yucatán Peninsula in Mexico is home to the impact crater known as the Chicxulub crater. The asteroid was estimated to be roughly 10 to 15 kilometers broad, but the impact velocity caused a 150-kilometer crater – the planet’s second-largest crater.

Where Did the Asteroid that Killed the Dinosaurs Hit?

At a location now known as the Chicxulub crater, the massive asteroid, thought to be the size of Mount Everest, collided with the Earth.

The impact site is located at co-ordinates 21.4,-89.516667 beneath the Gulf of Mexico’s ocean, and you can see it on Google Maps.

The location is now in Merida, Mexico, near the shore. Those may watch the exact place the asteroid made contact from a coastal road that runs next to the water.

Dino-Killing Asteroid: Was It An Asteroid Or Comet?

After noting that 66-million-year old clays all over the globe have far more rare metal iridium than the layers above and below them, a team headed by Nobel Prize-winning physicist Luis Alvarez proposed the death-by-above idea(opens in new tab) for the K-T extinction in 1980.

The scientists reasoned that the iridium was most likely delivered by an impactor that struck Earth at the time. A decade later, a second investigation team found the site where the asteroid impacted(opens in new tab)on the Yucatán Peninsula and the Caribbean Sea, discovering a buried crater some 90 miles (150 kilometers) wide.

Further study revealed that the crater Chicxulub formed 66 million years ago, with iridium concentrations declining as one moves away from its center.

What kind of item collided with Earth on that fateful day 66 million years ago? It was initially thought to be an asteroid by Alvarez and his team, which is still the case.

Some scientists believe a comet was blasted out at Chicxulub Crater, which is not unanimous. Harvard astrophysicists Amir Siraj and Avi Loeb, for example, proposed that comets are the best fit with the geochemical evidence in a February 2021 article(opens in new tab) published in Nature.

Carbonaceous chondrites, which are dark, primitive meteorites with high concentrations of carbon and minerals that have been altered by water, are a rather uncommon form.

When long-period comets approach the sun, Siraj and Loeb estimate that around a fifth of all such icy wanderers break up, generating numerous parts.

According to Siraj and Loeb, this growth in the number of long-period comets could boost the odds of Chicxulub impact events by an order of magnitude. The age of the Chicxulub impact crater would be consistent with this new rate, thus the impactor’s genesis would be adequately explained.

Steve Desch of Arizona State University and colleagues responded to their research. Siraj and Loeb’s geochemical arguments were refuted by Desch and his colleagues, who said that comets only match with a particular kind of carbonaceous chondrite called CI — which isn’t the fingerprint the impactor left behind.

In reality, Desch et al. find that a CM or CR carbonaceous chondrite is more likely than a comet impactor based on the geochemical evidence. They wrote in their article, which was first published in June 2021 in Astronomy & Geophysics (opens in new tab), that

By contributing to a 40-year-old discussion that might last for decades, Siraj and Loeb have authored a response to that response(opens in new tab). “The broad consensus is in favor of an asteroid impactor,” Desch and his team wrote in their paper, which was said before. Siraj and Loeb are in the minority here.

What Caused Global Mass Extinctions?

Around the same moment in history, about 75% of all animals on Earth, including dinosaurs, vanished. So how did a rock impact the shore of Central America cause all of this?

The asteroid was vaporized when it collided with Earth at a high velocity,’ Paul explains. It created a massive crater, which wreaked havoc on the local landscape. It released a massive blast wave and heatwave, which sent vast amounts of debris into the atmosphere.

Soot was transported all around the globe as a result. The amount of light that reached the Earth’s surface was reduced, but it wasn’t completely blocked out. As a result, plant growth was affected.’

The asteroid’s impact sent a shockwave across the Yucatán Peninsula, destroying everything in its path. NASA/JPL-Caltech, via Wikimedia Commons, image by Donald E Davis
This, like dominos, swept through the food chain, destroying the ecosystem. Herbivores’ capacity to thrive was severely harmed by the decrease in plant life, which meant that carnivores would have suffered as well.

Breeding seasons would have been shorter, and the environment tougher. Both on land and in the sea, all living things would have been impacted in some manner.

The actual kill process and how long it lasted are two topics of considerable debate. There are a lot of questions that remain unanswered. But, according to Paul, “It was a massive event that affected all life on Earth, from bacteria to dinosaurs.”

There are a lot of names on the casualties list. Ammonites, tiny plankton, and huge marine reptiles are among the animals that died out.

The demise, however, opened the door for contemporary civilization.

What Happened On The Day The Asteroid Hit Earth?

According to a 2020 research published in Nature Communications, the asteroid was already primed for disaster when it collided with Earth at the most devastating angle.

The asteroid’s crash created a significant quantity of dust and aerosols, which were thrown into the air by the angle. Rock and sulphuric acid were the most common harmful materials.

The planet is covered in a cloud of microscopic dust that reflects sunlight and heats it. The climate of the Earth was drastically changed as a result of the long-term cooling.

The terrestrial and oceanic food chains both collapsed, killing off the dinosaurs and other creatures, due to the cessation of photosynthesizing caused by dimming sunlight.

Meanwhile, following the collision, deadly rain spread for days thanks to the airborne sulphuric acid, killing numerous marine creatures.

Dinosaurs: The Last Day, Sir David Attenborough’s latest program, will go into great detail about this time period.

The film is about the minute-by-minute detail of that day, and it’s about the last day the dinosaurs lived on Earth, Sir David said.

We tend to believe that the conclusion of a geologic era spans decades, if not centuries, and this is not the case. The conclusion of a era may vary depending on where it occurs.

However, what makes this remarkable is that one enormous occurrence happened around the world.

The end of the Cretaceous was marked by the impact of an object the size of Mount Everest on Earth. That is a remarkable event.

Dinosaur-Killing Asteroid Most Likely Struck In Spring

The worst single day in Earth’s history was the one that wiped out the dinosaurs 66 million years ago. Chicxulub, a six-mile-wide asteroid that struck the oceans off the coast of what is now Mexico, caused a global extinction that wiped out over 75% of Earth’s species.

The planet’s crust was shaken and rolled by unfathomably massive earthquakes. North America’s beaches were pummeled by tsunamis that were more than 150 feet tall. Hundreds to thousands of kilometers from the impact site, wildfires were started by the searing heat of the asteroid’s initial impact plume and the torrents of debris that followed.

Fossil fish that appear to have died within an hour of the impact hold a crucial piece of information: Life on Earth suffered this devastating blow on a fateful spring day. Hundreds of sites around the world preserve vestiges of this cataclysm.

According to the findings of a new research published in Nature, the development rhythms in the fish’s fossilized bones suggest that they perished abruptly as their development was picking up speed from an abundance of food, similar to death during springtime. The new research also supports the worst-case scenario conclusion of the Chicxulub impact.

Life on Earth was subjected to a terrifying “nuclear winter” after the initial disaster, which lasted months to years following the impact, when the extinction event killed the most species. The sun was blotted out, temperatures plummeted by more than 60 degrees Fahrenheit, and the Mesozoic’s ecosystems were cut down at the knees when gases and particles were flung high into the atmosphere.

What Survived the Asteroid Impact?

Plants, unlike animals, are more resistant to extinction because their seeds and pollen may endure harsh conditions for longer. Following the extinction of the dinosaurs, flowering plants took over Earth, continuing a trend that had started in the Cretaceous and continues today. Nonetheless, all big animals weighing over 25 kg perished.

What we have today is mostly the result of what we’re left with. ‘The lines that led to modern animals got through,’ says Paul, ‘and many of the major animal groups that are alive today were in place before the asteroid impact.’

Dinosaurs survived as birds when all non-bird dinosaurs died out. Several species of birds became extinct, but their descendants live on today as modern birds.’

The first to undergo development to greater sizes were birds, and the survivors were initially tiny.

There were two lineages of gigantic birds, both predatory and vegetarian, but they vanished after a brief period of time.

This is a large flightless bird from the Eocene Epoch, with a fossilized skull. This 50-55 million-year-old specimen was discovered.

We didn’t start to see really huge animals until around 15 million years after the non-bird dinosaurs went extinct, during what’s known as the Oligocene Epoch. Rhino-sized creatures are beginning to reappear at this point. However, in comparison to the dinosaurs that came before them, it’s a world full of tiny creatures until that point. Body size didn’t catch up for a long time.”

The largest land animals ever to exist are dinosaurs. Whales are the only species that has ever grown to be larger.