Dinosaur asteroid hit ‘worst possible place’ 

Posted: May 16, 2017 by oldbrew in Geology, History, research, solar system dynamics

Credit: quora.com

The energy that went into making the impact crater is thought to be equivalent to 10 billion Hiroshima A-bombs, as BBC News explains. Nowhere to run/hide/escape.

Scientists who drilled into the impact crater associated with the demise of the dinosaurs summarised their findings so far in a BBC Two documentary on Monday.

The researchers recovered rocks from under the Gulf of Mexico that were hit by an asteroid 66 million years ago. The nature of this material records the details of the event.

It is becoming clear that the 15km-wide asteroid could not have hit a worse place on Earth.

The shallow sea covering the target site meant colossal volumes of sulphur (from the mineral gypsum) were injected into the atmosphere, extending the “global winter” period that followed the immediate firestorm.

Had the asteroid struck a different location, the outcome might have been very different.

“This is where we get to the great irony of the story – because in the end it wasn’t the size of the asteroid, the scale of blast, or even its global reach that made dinosaurs extinct – it was where the impact happened,” said Ben Garrod, who presents The Day The Dinosaurs Died with Alice Roberts.

“Had the asteroid struck a few moments earlier or later, rather than hitting shallow coastal waters it might have hit deep ocean.

“An impact in the nearby Atlantic or Pacific oceans would have meant much less vaporised rock – including the deadly gypsum. The cloud would have been less dense and sunlight could still have reached the planet’s surface, meaning what happened next might have been avoided.

“In this cold, dark world food ran out of the oceans within a week and shortly after on land. With nothing to eat anywhere on the planet, the mighty dinosaurs stood little chance of survival.”

Continued here.

  1. oldbrew says:

    They’d have had a better chance with today’s technology 😉

  2. Stephen Richards says:

    I read about this years ago. The rock underneath, the proximity to sea.

  3. oldbrew says:

    This 1994 paper mentions gypsum, but the new core samples add to the evidence.

  4. TinyCO2 says:

    I watch this and got bored part way through. There was way too much about the scientists and the drilling and not enough about the science.

  5. Sparks says:

    I still don’t buy this Dinosaur Asteroid theory, obviously the impact wasn’t large enough so they have changed the theory to add that it was sulphur in the atmosphere that killed off the dinosaurs… why not just put it down to that ice ages were the cause of wiping out the dinosaurs, ice ages could have wiped out various types of dinosaurs periodically over millions of years, Dinosaur Asteroid theory is just a dramatic story, I don’t buy that all various types of dinosaurs were wiped out at the same time… do you know how unscientific that actually sounds? lol

  6. oldbrew says:

    Sparks – did you read this?

    “All these fossils occur in a layer no more than 10cm thick,” palaeontologist Ken Lacovara tells Alice.

    “They died suddenly and were buried quickly. It tells us this is a moment in geological time. That’s days, weeks, maybe months. But this is not thousands of years; it’s not hundreds of thousands of years. This is essentially an instantaneous event.”
    – – –
    No fossil remains of dinosaurs have been found above that layer.

  7. Sparks says:

    Hi oldbrew

    I did read that, I’m not doubting that an asteroid struck the area, maybe it even affected and killed local wildlife there at the time, also the asteroid could have struck during an ice age or after the dinosaurs were wiped out, there are various types of dinosaur and most types died out long before this asteroid hit, and many more evolved into various other types of animal, The Dinosaur Asteroid theory is a lazy explanation, the extinction of animal species is an on going process and continuing today, Ice ages play a major role in my opinion.

  8. oldbrew says:

    BBC: ‘One of the many fascinating sequences in the BBC Two programme sees Alice Roberts visit a quarry in New Jersey, US, where 25,000 fossil fragments have been recovered – evidence of a mass die-off of creatures that may have been among the casualties on the day of the impact itself.’

    Not possible if dinosaurs were already at or near extinction at impact time?

    ‘The Cretaceous–Paleogene (K–Pg) extinction event,[a] also known as the Cretaceous–Tertiary (K–T) extinction,[b] was a mass extinction of some three-quarters of the plant and animal species on Earth that occurred over a geologically short period of time[2][3][4] approximately 66 million years ago.[3] With the exception of some ectothermic species like the leatherback sea turtle and crocodiles, no tetrapods weighing more than 25 kilograms (55 lb) survived.’– Wikipedia


    Any land creature (not already dead) that couldn’t survive on things like seeds and insects was in big trouble.

  9. pochas94 says:

    Fails to mention that at the antipode of the strike shock waves from the strike fractured the oceanic crust and and a major episode of volcanism began. Later, the Indian subcontinent rose above the waves and began its migration northward to its present position tucked up against the Himalayas.

  10. tallbloke says:

    The indian subcontinent’s collision with Asia didn’t “tuck up against the Himalayas.”, it CREATED them (and is still forcing them upwards). the resulting interruption to airflow has permanently altered regional climates worldwide.

  11. Sparks says:

    Oldbrew Says: ‘…where 25,000 fossil fragments have been recovered – evidence of a mass die-off of creatures that may have been among the casualties on the day of the impact itself.’

    That’s incorrect, it is not evidence of a mass die-off, this is why, 25.000 fossil fragments from creatures, only prove that there was a spike in those kind of creatures alive in that area at that time and later died out. No one can say that there was a mass extinction 66 million years ago based on evidence that certain kinds of creatures were thriving 66 million years ago.

    There are extinct creatures found and dated geologically before and after. These ‘extinction boundaries’ are made up between the stages of mass animal adaptation to changes in the environment as they continuously evolved over time.

    Also; Ice Ages can be brought on very suddenly by the sun and so can an interglacial, and an interglacial can cause the kind of spike of creatures wee see in the geology, when an interglacial ends, different kinds of creatures emerge as other kinds are lost, asteroids have hit Earth frequently over the past 500 million years even the largest do not have a catastrophic global impact, Here’s another clue, if the so called “dinosaurs” died out over night then literately, how on earth did other types of life basically emerge at the same time? was it a specific type Dinosaur ‘homing’ asteroid?

    Like I said before, the “dinosaur asteroid” theory is just a dramatic story, it misrepresents how life has evolved and adapted on this planet through major interglacials and Ice ages over millions of years.

    Apologies Rog this may be a duplicate comment!

  12. oldbrew says:

    ‘was it a specific type Dinosaur ‘homing’ asteroid?’

    The Wikipedia quote already pointed out that 75% of all species disappeared at that time. If the top predators disappear the rules of the survival game change radically.

    It’s proven from fossils in the dated geological strata that at least some dinosaurs were around at the time of the impact, but none afterwards (that we know of). The conclusion is not difficult to reach surely?

  13. oldbrew says:

    Chicxulub event – Effects

    The impact would have caused a megatsunami over 100 metres (330 ft) tall[24] that would have reached all the way to what are now Texas and Florida.[22] The height of the tsunami was limited due to relatively shallow sea in the area of the impact; in deep sea it would be 4.6 kilometres (2.9 mi) tall.[24] A cloud of super-heated dust, ash and steam would have spread from the crater as the impactor burrowed underground in less than a second.[25] Excavated material along with pieces of the impactor, ejected out of the atmosphere by the blast, would have been heated to incandescence upon re-entry, broiling the Earth’s surface and possibly igniting wildfires; meanwhile, colossal shock waves would have triggered global earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.[26]

    The emission of dust and particles could have covered the entire surface of the Earth for several years, possibly a decade, creating a harsh environment for living things. The shock production of carbon dioxide caused by the destruction of carbonate rocks would have led to a sudden greenhouse effect.[27] Over a longer period, sunlight would have been blocked from reaching the surface of the Earth by the dust particles in the atmosphere, cooling the surface dramatically. Photosynthesis by plants would also have been interrupted, affecting the entire food chain.

    – – –
    Even today, who on this planet would fancy their chances in the aftermath of a similar type of impact?

  14. Paul Vaughan says:

    “it was where the impact happened,”

    I wonder if war modelers have done the analogous map for nuclear impacts.
    Where are the sweet spots?

    Neither the hazards map nor the natural hazards map are uniform.
    Strategic impact on sweet spot may be global, maybe whether natural or not.

    Better map out the risks and ensure stability.
    And if we don’t currently have the capability to ensure stability, we have exploratory work to do. Everyone using every minute available in the race to be prepared for whatever. Might as well have fun exploring and racing is fun.

  15. pochas94 says:

    Small mammals did survive, and later became large mammals, until the mid-size mammals took over. Their skill at hiding out from the dinosaurs by burrowing underground paid dividends then and is still useful today.

  16. Sparks says:


    If an asteroid hit the Mauritius island tomorrow, you can say the same thing about the Dodo. You could dig up 25,000 fragments and claim that the asteroid wiped them out too.

    @pochas94 incorrect, Large animals also survived, even according to Oldbrew’s sources 25% of dinosaurs survived this hypothetical blast that wiped out the ‘dinosaurs’ 66 million years ago isn’t going too well, and by the way oldbrew ‘was it a specific type [of] Dinosaur ‘homing’ asteroid?’ is what I meant.

    All joking aside, if an asteroid wiped out a few ‘dinosaurs’ again and again periodically over the past 600 million years, imagine what an Ice age could do, How can the same asteroid wipe out all the ‘dinosaurs’ more than once??

  17. oldbrew says:

    ‘even according to Oldbrew’s sources 25% of dinosaurs survived’

    No, the source said 75% of species died, and the dinosaur was one of those species. Basically anything over 25 kg had virtually no chance of maintaining its diet.

    See the video above.

  18. Sparks says:

    ‘….the source said 75% of species died, and the dinosaur was one of those species. Basically anything over 25 kg had little or no chance.’

    So 25% of species survived regardless of weight. This asteroid is fantastic!! did it only hit earth once in the past 600 million years?

  19. Sparks says:

    Oldbrew maybe you’re not aware that there were other so called extinction events including this one 66 million years ago, there are a few noted over the past 600 million years. Did this asteroid travel millions of years back in time and wipe out selective dinosaurs by weight as well? just asking, because the unscientific line of thought going on here is in need of questioning at this point.

  20. Sparks says:

    There is one point in time in the past 600 million years that an asteroid is claimed to have wiped out the dinosaurs, throw away all the other data that suggests the same thing happened over and over again, the magic asteroid theory clearly doesn’t work so lets place this asteroid impact at 66 million years ago and claim it wiped out all the dinosaurs due to how much it cooled the planet… Amazing…

  21. tallbloke says:

    I thinks Sparks should read Svensmark’s big paper on extinction events and the motion of the solar system through the galactic spiral arms.


  22. Sparks says:

    Rog, when Svensmark modelled GCR’s over millions of years and linked it to the motion of the solar system through the galactic spiral arms, I was astounded… Svensmark is trying to find a theoretical link to an increase and decrease of GCR’s over huge timescales. I have no patients for this nonsense.

  23. Sparks says:

    The sun regulates GCR’s… the funny thing is, GCR’s are constant, when the sun is not regulating cosmic rays, what does? Having large planets orbiting and shielding Earth is one, over large timescales, changes in exposure to sources of GCR’s maybe another, but only if the sun isn’t counteracting this background frequency of Galactic Cosmic Rays.

    So no, mass spikes in life found on Earth over the past 600 million years were not a result of our solar system travelling through space, and it is absurd to suggest that our solar system has ever left the galactic arm we’re part of now, we are travelling at the same rate the milky way is rotating and it is fundamentally impossible for our solar system to travel through other “galactic spiral arms” as suggested.

  24. oldbrew says:

    Study [2013]: Rapid short-term cooling following the Chicxulub impact at the Cretaceous–Paleogene boundary

    Here, for the first time (to our knowledge), we are able to demonstrate unambiguously that the impact at the Cretaceous–Paleogene boundary (K–Pg, ∼66 Mya) was followed by a so-called “impact winter.” This impact winter was the result of the injection of large amounts of dust and aerosols into the stratosphere and significantly reduced incoming solar radiation for decades. Therefore, this phase will have been a key contributory element in the extinctions of many biological clades, including the dinosaurs. The K–Pg boundary impact presents a unique event in Earth history because it caused global change at an unparalleled rate. This detailed portrayal of the environmental consequences of the K–Pg impact and aftermath aids in our understanding of truly rapid climate change.
    . . .
    The Cretaceous–Paleogene (K–Pg) boundary mass extinction was one of the most devastating events in the Phanerozoic history of life, both on land and in the oceans (1, 2). It is widely acknowledged to be related to the impact of an asteroid with an estimated diameter of ∼10 km at Chicxulub, Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico


  25. oldbrew says:

    Date: 17/05/17 Meteorologist Paul Dorian, Vencore, Inc.


  26. E.M.Smith says:

    Not to be painfully pedantic, but…

    It has recently been shown that birds are dinosaurs, creating the dino-aves combined clad. So the little fluffy dinosaur s survived.

    Big animals depend on constantly available large amounts of food, but can beat up small animals.
    Small animals can hide underground.
    When a strike happens it kills big things that can’t burrow. This has happened many times.

    The other new bit is that crocodiles are now shown to be a dinosaur that reverted to cold blooded when it returned to the water. The specific land ancestor has been identified. So being under water during the impact and cold blooded so able to go months without food (and happy to eat old fettid carcasses) also survived.

    The result of this is that the question changes from “what killed all the dinosaurs?” to “why did these dinosaurs survive?” Big and daily feeding died. Small burrowing and eat rarely survived. It was a blast above the surface, massive fires, and dark low food and cold for months. That sure sounds like a big impact with antipodal volcanism to me.

  27. E.M.Smith says:

    Oh, and per Sparks theory it was an ice age:

    Two problems.

    Cold strongly advantages larger animals (heat generated as the cube of linear dimension -mass, heat loss proportional to the square). Why whales and polar bears are large. We now know dinosaurs were warm blooded and at least some had feathers like birds to keep warm. They would be advantaged in cold, like penguins, not exterminated by it.

    The tropical forests of Brazil are full of plants that die in any frost and evolved millions of years ago. Had the area ever frosted (not frozen ice layer, just frosted hard) they would be extinct. So there was a warm place where dinosaurs would have been happy to survive.

    This implies the extinction event was short enough for plants to recover from roots, bulbs, and seeds. I.e. not a thousand year long ice event.

    “The ice did it” as a theory has major issues that can not be solved.

  28. p.g.sharrow says:

    I would add to the list of surviving dinos, the egg layers- platypus and scaly anteater, seems to me that there is another species of “mammals” that is an egg layer but it slips my mind. Mammals are placentals not egg layers…pg

  29. Sparks says:

    E.M.Smith says:

    “Oh, and per Sparks theory it was an ice age…”

    Nice to hear from you, So… let’s get into it and roll the sleeves up.

    The cause of an interglacial and an Ice age to be more exact are both a result of the sun, and to be more specific; The interaction between planetary bodies and the sun.

    The sun’s polarity, orientation and speed of its reversing poles are integral with planetary orbits, there is an interaction between the Sun and the planets in our solar system.

    And as this ‘Sparks theory’ goes it’s a great start.

    As you may already know and be aware of is the fact that observable activity on the sun is linked to our star’s polarity reversing.

    This activity of solar polarity reversal and the observed timing that occurs has been recorded during an interglacial.

    The solar system has large planets that expand and contract in their orbits, the rate of the solar polar reversal has an observed recorded timing when planetary orbits contract, solar polar reversals become faster and activity on the sun goes up as polar reversals increase. As planetary orbits expand solar polar reversals become slower and activity on the sun goes down as polar reversals decrease.

    Periodically, when our solar system of planets expand to a certain extent, our sun’s polarity stops reversing altogether…

    For long periods of time the sun will have little to no activity due to having no polar reversal.

    ‘Sparks theory’ ~

    Chapter XXIV
    In the past, animal life thrived more during interglacial periods and were large leaving it, they lived fast and died young so to speak.

    (Off topic note, posting issues again)

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