Dinosaurs might still be roaming the Earth if the celestial object that smashed into the present-day Gulf of Mexico had hit almost anywhere else on the planet. By hitting the rocky terrain of the Yucatan Peninsula about 65 million years ago, however, the impact sent the soot into the air that would trigger a chain reaction and lead to mass extinction. Even with the impressive 9-kilometer (5.6-mile) diameter of the object, believed to be an asteroid, that caused the event, the odds that it would have wiped out the dinosaurs were only 13 percent, the Japanese scientists Kunio Kaiho and Naga Oshima have found, according to new research they published on Thursday in the journal Scientific Reports. “They were unlucky,” Kaiho told Britain’s Guardian newspaper. Read more: Protecting the earth from an asteroid strike — what can we do? Gambling with extinction Impacts on this scale are rare enough, but the object that initiated what scientists call the Cretaceous-Paleogene extinction event happened to also hit an area rich in hydrocarbon and sulfate. The force of the impact heated the materials, “forming stratospheric soot and sulfate aerosols and causing extreme global cooling and drought,” the scientists report in the paper. German scientists have… Read full this story
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