The Asteroid That Killed the Dinosaurs

It is fairly common knowledge that a huge asteroid hit Earth over 65 million years ago, resulting in the extinction of all non-avian dinosaurs. The collision flung huge amounts of rock and dust into the atmosphere. This blocked out the sunlight from the Earth for years. The plants that used the Sun for energy died, causing the dinosaurs which depended on them as a food source to starve. Plus, the dust particles caused so much friction that they started fires. However, that's not the entire story: according to new research, this asteroid also caused a huge tsunami which affected the entire globe.

This tsunami was nearly a mile high. It started in the Gulf of Mexico with water moving up to 89 miles an hour. In some parts of the Gulf, the waves afterward reached up to 328 feet. The forces were so great that it spread to all of the world's oceans. This turmoil is yet another factor in how the dinosaurs went extinct.

The discovery of this global tsunami was made using a computer model of the asteroid impact. A research team from the University of Michigan, with help from an assistant professor at Brown University, ran two models that were able to compute the impact of the initial tsunami and the waves that followed. The findings matched ocean sediment records, which showed that sediment from the land was moved to the ocean by the tsunami.

It wasn't one event that killed the dinosaurs. The asteroid impact set off a chain reaction of cataclysmic occurrences. It is all of those put together that caused the Cretaceous-Paleogene extinction. When the asteroid, known as Chicxulub, hit shallow water in the Gulf of Mexico, new research shows it triggered a worldwide tsunami. This is another piece of evidence explaining how and why the dinosaurs went extinct.

[Source: Live Science]