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History of Dinosaurs
An asteroid the size of a mountain crashed on the Yucatán Peninsula 66 million years ago, exploding with the force of 100 trillion tonnes of TNT. The dinosaurs’ 165-million-year reign came to an end in that horrific moment.
The asteroid theory of dinosaur extinction was proposed for the first time in 1980. The discovery of the Chicxulub Crater in the Gulf of Mexico more than a decade later established where and when.
Researchers used an impact calculator built by geophysicists from Purdue University and Imperial College London to get a decent sense of what happened at the time of impact and soon afterward—the K-Pg extinction event.
At a speed of 40,000 miles per hour, the asteroid slammed into the Earth, leaving a crater more than 115 miles large and quickly vaporizing hundreds of cubic miles of rock. Any creature that was close enough to see the strike, as well as any trees and bushes, was instantly obliterated.
Tsunamis as high as 1,000 feet (305 meters) were caused in coastal areas, as well as earthquakes were far more powerful than anything humans have ever encountered.
But the carnage had not even started yet. Red-hot debris began showering down minutes after the first hit, burying the earth with lethal ash and soil. Hundreds of feet of stony rubble lay around the collision zone. A violent wind ripped through the area less than an hour after impact, destroying whatever remained standing.
Then ash, smoke, and debris in the sky spread throughout the globe, turning daylight into perpetual darkness that lasted months, if not years. Food became increasingly scarce as temperatures plummeted. Ecosystems as a whole were wiped off. Between 75 and 80 percent of Earth’s life had died when it was all said and done.
Many people believe that the dinosaurs died extinct fairly rapidly after the asteroid hit. However, while many creatures perished at the time of impact and in the weeks afterward particularly around ground zero global mass extinction took time, and it afflicted certain species more severely than others.
Because they lived in burrows and could eat almost everything, many of the tiny animals that lived alongside the dinosaurs were able to survive. Furthermore, animals that lived near freshwater fared better than those that resided on land.
Many scientists now believe that the K-Pg extinction occurred at a period when the world’s ecology was changing and life was already in trouble. The dinosaurs were facing difficult times. Their environment was beginning to chill, and they were competing for decreasing food supplies. As species after species perished, ecological diversity diminished.