Science » Planet Earth
Author`s name Dmitry Sudakov

Deadly asteroids ram into Earth once in 300,000 years

The dinosaurs were not killed by the impact of a giant asteroid that smashed into the Yucatan peninsula 65 million years ago. The dinosaurs died out in the aftermath of a giant volcanism that originated in India, and a global warming that topped off the picture. No doubts about it, the creatures had very slim chances of surviving the impact of a huge asteroid. However, the Mexican impact was too old to have finished them off. There must have been another impact somewhere else which was to blame, according to Prof. Gerta Keller, a paleontologist at Princeton. She centers her theory on evidence found by her team during research in the vicinity of the Chicxulub crater, the site of the fall of an asteroid that gave rise to the so-called “impact” theory. Prof. Keller is confident that the Chicxulub impact was too weak to have caused any large-scale extinction of the species. Besides, Keller points out; Chicxulub impact took place some 300,000 years before the dinosaurs began to perish.

Nezavisimaya Gazeta already reported on the findings by Prof. Keller’s team. Evidence found by her team in Yucatan provoked one of the bitterest scientific rows of recent times. Prof. Keller’s team bored a well 1.5 km wide on a location some 60 km away from the Chicxulub crater and gathered evidence to prove that the crater formed about 300,000 years prior to the start of massive extinction. Prof. Keller’s were in complete contradiction to the “impact” theory that was considered by many the only and only truth. To be doubly sure of her suggestion, Prof. Keller’s bored another well to gather more evidence that clearly indicated the existence of a mysterious gap of 300,000 years.

“We couldn’t find any traces of a significant biotic effect during the research of rock formations deposited immediately above and under the ‘Chicxulub impact layer.’ We believe the fall of the asteroid had no impact whatsoever on the fossilized remains of small marine animals,” said Prof. Keller.

The question is: How could a massive rock hit Earth without causing any significant biotic effect on it? We should bear in mind that we are talking about a 10km-wide meteorite whose weight was a minimum of one trillion tons. What else might have happened to trigger devastation at a global scale?

According to Prof. Keller, the Chicxulub impact pale in comparison to the calamities that befell the planet at the time. A series of long-drawn and intensive earthquakes originated in the territory presently occupied by India swept across the globe. A long-term global warming ensued. The average temperatures increased by 7-8 degrees. “The temperatures went up pretty fast, over a period of 20,000 years. The temperatures remained the same for the next 100,000 years. The temperatures slid back to the norm right before the massive extinction began,” said Prof. Keller.

In theory, the species could have survived all the chastisements if the second asteroid had misfired. The crater of the second asteroid has not been found. Prof. Keller maintains that the second asteroid had killed off the dinosaurs.

Can the two deadly asteroids have fallen to Earth at an interval of 300,000 years? Keller’s theory does not seem to hold water. Otherwise, we should lay the blame for all the calamities on her scenario, to say nothing of the probability theory, which really clashes with it.

Nezavisimaya Gazeta

Translated by Guerman Grachev