Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Scientists reaffirm theory that giant asteroid killed dinosaurs

A team of scientists has agreed that a giant asteroid killed off Dinosaurs and a majority of other species on Earth more than 65 million years before.

The researchers examined evidence and agreed it supports a single-impact theory first proposed 30 years ago on the cause of the mass extinction.

Since 1980, scientists have gathered an overwhelming amount of evidence that illustrates a single asteroid about 6 miles in diameter and traveling at thousands of miles an hour, slammed into the Gulf of Mexico, said Richard Norris, a paleoceanographer at the University of California San Diego.

The impact caused a crater 24 miles deep and 125 miles wide, according to Norris, who was part of the research group.

The crater was found out in 1991 in Chicxulub, Mexico, on the Yucatan Peninsula, said scientists who called it the "smoking gun" that backed up the asteroid theory.
Norris compared the asteroid's impact with a blast from hundred million tons of TNT.
"It's mostly more powerful than all the atomic weapons on the planet going off all at once," he said.

The researchers wanted to settle disputes about what destroyed the dinosaurs. Some theories have argued that it would have taken many meteorites to cause such a cataclysmic incident. Another rival theory suggested that the mass Extinction was a consequence of a massive volcanic eruption in India that took place around the same time as the impact.

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