Tuesday, September 19, 2017

What If: The Dino Killer Asteroid Had Hit 30 Seconds Earlier Or Later

"One pivotal day 66 million years ago, a 6-mile-wide asteroid slammed into the earth off the Yucat√°n Peninsula in Mexico. The explosion—as powerful as millions of nuclear bombs—kicked up billions of tons of vaporized rock, filling the sky with a dark cloud that blotted out the sun for decades. Global temperatures plunged 50 degrees. The dinosaurs that dominated the planet died off for lack of food. Their disappearance led to the rise of mammals, and eventually to the evolution of Homo sapiens. In a new BBC documentary, scientists who’ve drilled down into the asteroid’s crater say that it hit “in the worst possible place”—shallow coastal waters where the underlying sediments were filled with gypsum; if the big rock had entered the atmosphere just 30 seconds earlier or later, it would have landed in the deep Atlantic or Pacific ocean and not created the catastrophic cloud of sulfur. Most dinosaurs (if there were any still alive at this time) would have survived. The human race might never have arisen."
The Week; Issue June 2, 2017

The 3-meter gap controversy surrounding question of dinosaurs' demise: