Despite dominating the planet’s surface for millions of years, dinosaur diversity reached a dramatic conclusion at the end of the planet’s impact on the Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico, about 66 million years ago.
It is so swollen with data that it is hard to imagine any room for suspicion that this is exactly what happened. If it is a cold case, it will be rubber-stamped and filed under the ‘roll’ by now.
But scientists are a bunch of squirrels, begging to close a small gap in the chain of evidence linking signs of global revelation with the crime scene.
An international team of collaborating researchers to study the contents of the Yucatan Peninsula’s famous Chiksulab effect crater has finally matched the chemical signature of meteor dust inside its rock, along the geological boundary representing the dinosaur extinction phenomenon.
It seems to be a clear indication that the thin blankets of dust that accumulated on the earth’s crust millions of years ago have arisen from the impact of the impact at this very place.
“Now we’re at a coincidence that work doesn’t happen without a geological cause,” says Sean Guilk, a geologist at the University of Texas at Dallas.
Along with fellow geologist Joanna Morgan from Imperial College College London, Gulick led an expedition in 2016, and recovered a sample of scattered stone more than half a kilometer from the top ring of the pit.
Measurements were made by four different laboratories on the sample. The results will not only help integrate the large transition to the fossil record with the site, they also indicate a timeline that supports a rapid decline in the dinosaur population in less than one to two decades.
“If you’re really going to put a watch on extinction a million 66 million years ago, you can easily argue that it all happened in a decade, basically how long it takes for everything to starve,” he says. Gulik.
Half a century ago, there was an open question as to why the diversity of fossils representing the Mesozoic era in geological records came about. Whatever was responsible for the sudden loss of 75 percent of life on Earth became relatively fast and global.
The hypotheses of such catastrophic violence were largely centered on two possibilities – one emerging from the ground as a surge of volcanic activity, the other radically disrupting the global atmosphere in the form of a comet or planetary strike from above.
In 1980, the American physicist Luis Alvarez and his son, a geologist named Verter, published a study on thin layers of sediment dividing the dinosaur-populated Cretaceous period from the post-Paleogene dinosaur world.
A defining characteristic of this millimeter-a thin strip of thick sediment from a centimeter અ was an unusually high amount of the element iridium, which is not found abundantly in the metal earth’s crust.
In one place you will find plenty of iridium that is in the meteor. So the discovery of Alvarez and his son marked the first solid piece of evidence that at the time dinosaur biodiversity took a dive, something from space was released on the entire planet of its fossils.
Coincidentally, the site of that tremendous collision was the center of ongoing research at the time, however, making a clear connection between the 180 to 200 km long (112 to 125 miles) stretch on the southern edge of the gulf. The killer asteroids did not occur in Mexico until the 1990s.
Since then, the evidence in support of the asteroid effect has only become stronger, the models who were going to indicate who, as well as the location of the Cixullab effect, played a decisive role in the intensity of the extinction phenomenon.
The so-called Deccan traps in the field of intense geological activity in western India meant that large amounts of greenhouse gases contributed at the time, meaning that the volcanic hypothesis could never be ruled out as the least possible contributing factor.
Whether this tectonic hotspot played a role in the famous extinction event, or later helped restore biodiversity, is still under discussion.
What is no longer a point of serious discussion is that there is a 12-kilometer-wide rock-throwing section off the coast of Mexico about a million 66 million years ago that dusts off the remains of numerous dinosaurs.
“The circle is now finally complete,” says Steven Goderis, a geochemist at Bruges University Brussels in Belgium.
This research was published Science progress.