Cretaceous-Paleogene Mass Extinction Explained

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Health Editor’s Note: The amount of change that took place, in a relatively brief period of time after the earth was struck with a massive asteroid 66 million years ago blows my mind.  This article describes what happened in terms that are very easy (and scary) to visualize….carol

What Happened the Day a Giant, Dinosaur-Killing Asteroid Hit the Earth

by Riley Black Smithsonian.com

One of the greatest scars on our planet is hidden beneath the Yucatán Peninsula and the Gulf of Mexico. The buried crater, over 90 miles in diameter, was created when a massive asteroid struck the planet 66 million years ago and brought a calamitous end to the reign of dinosaurs. Now, thanks to a new analysis of core samples taken from the crater’s inner ring of mountains, called a peak ring, geologists can create a detailed timeline of what happened on the day after impact.

The immense Chicxulub crater is a remnant of one of the most consequential days in the history of life on Earth. The asteroid strike triggered the Cretaceous-Paleogene, or K-Pg, mass extinction. The catastrophe not only decimated the dinosaurs, leaving only birds to carry their legacy, but also annihilated various forms of life from flying reptiles called pterosaurs to coil-shelled nautilus relatives called ammonites. Lizards, snakes, mammals and more suffered their own setbacks. The best clues to what happened now lie buried in rock layers stacked 12 miles deep.

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