Tuesday, 20 Oct, 2009 Science

Dinosaurs Wiped Out After a 40Km Wide Meteor Hit the Earth


It is possible that the extinction of dinosaurs was the result of a huge 25 mile (40.23km) wide meteor that hit the Earth. The size of the meteor is four times bigger than the asteroid which scientists previously thought to have been behind the extinction of dinosaurs. Such theory was provided by researchers after they managed to discover what they believe is the biggest meteor crater in the world, located off the coast of India.

Experts consider that the crater was formed after the massive meteor hit our planet, wiping out the dinosaurs 65 million years ago. It is worth mentioning that the Shiva basin is 310.7 miles in diameter along the seafloor. In addition, the central peak of the basin is as high as 3 miles, which is about the height of Mount McKinley that is considered to be the highest mountain in North America.

Previously researchers thought that the meteor responsible for the disappearance of all dinosaurs was between 5 and 6 miles, located in the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico.

The lead researcher of the current study is Sankar Chatterjee of Texas Tech University. According to the scientist, the latest discovery could prove to be the largest crater in the world. He mentioned that shattered and melted rocks from the bottom of the huge crater might hide some information about the impact. "We want to see if there are breccias, shocked quartz, and an iridium anomaly," said Mr. Chatterjee.

It would be interesting to note that asteroids contain large amounts of iridium and the latter could serve as a fingerprint of the impact, reports The Telegraph. The researcher considers that after a comet or asteroid of such an enormous size hit the planet, it vaporized the crust, thus killing nearly all life on Earth and leaving ultra-hot mantle material.

The biggest part of the crater is located underwater, but there are a number of tall cliffs that rise above the sea. These cliffs bring active faults as well as hot springs. The region was found to be rich in oil and gas reserves and the team of scientists looks forward to pay a visit to the area in order to explore the center of the crater by making a hole in it and search for clues that could prove that the crater was indeed formed by a huge meteor.

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