Mega asteroid impact 3 bln yrs ago dwarfed dinosaur-extinction blast
Washington: Researchers have now determined the power and scale of a cataclysmic event some 3.26 billion years ago, which dwarfs dinosaur-extinction blast, and is thought to have created geological features found in a South African region known as the Barberton greenstone belt.
The huge impactor-between 37 and 58 kilometers (23 to 36 miles) wide-collided with the planet at 20 kilometers per second (12 miles per second). The jolt, bigger than a 10.8 magnitude earthquake, propelled seismic waves hundreds of kilometers through the Earth, breaking rocks and setting off other large earthquakes.
Tsunamis thousands of meters deep-far bigger than recent tsunamis generated by earthquakes-swept across the oceans that covered most of the Earth at that time.
Donald Lowe, a geologist at Stanford University and a co-author of the study, who discovered telltale rock formations in the Barberton greenstone a decade ago, thought their structure smacked of an asteroid impact.
The impact of the impactor would have turned the sky red hot, the atmosphere would have been filled with dust and the tops of oceans would have boiled, the researchers said. The impact sent vaporized rock into the atmosphere, which encircled the globe and condensed into liquid droplets before solidifying and falling to the surface, according to the researchers.
The impact may have been one of dozens of huge asteroids that scientists think hit the Earth during the tail end of the Late Heavy Bombardment period, a major period of impacts that occurred early in the Earth`s history-around 3 billion to 4 billion years ago.
The Barberton greenstone belt is an area 100 kilometers (62 miles) long and 60 kilometers (37 miles) wide that sits east of Johannesburg near the border with Swaziland. It contains some of the oldest rocks on the planet.
The research is set to be published in Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems .
More from India
More from World
More from Sports
More from Entertaiment
- Over 60 cadets killed in Pakistan police academy attack
- DNA: Exclusive report on the extreme sacrifices made by ITBP soldiers
- Watch: PM Narendra Modi's ''progressive'' remark on triple talaq
- DNA: Terrorists' new strategy of snatching weapons from Indian security personnel
- Panel discussion over delayed development in Ayodhya
- Explosion in Delhi's Naya Bazar, one killed; anti-terror wing, Special cell at spot
- WATCH: Akhilesh Yadav's emotional speech revealing the real reason behind Samajwadi Party crisis; he was about to cry
- Read letters by Ratan Tata to PM Narendra Modi and Group employees after Cyrus Mistry's ouster
- Prompt action on border pushes Pak to offer olive branch, says both sides need to 'formalise' 2003 ceasefire
- India vs New Zealand: Awestruck Kiwis witness MS Dhoni driving his Hummer in Ranchi, and photo goes viral