Meteorite caused dinosaur extinction, Belgian study confirms

Meteorite caused dinosaur extinction, Belgian study confirms
Credit: Belga

A team of researchers led by the University of Brussels (VUB) have found definite proof that the dinosaurs’ extinction was caused by a meteorite.

The team found a layer of asteroid dust in a drill core in the impact crater, the same dust that has been deposited in rocks of the same age worldwide.

"Characteristic of that asteroid dust is the presence of the chemical element iridium," said Steven Goderis of the VUB. "Iridium does occur on Earth, but hardly at all in the Earth's crust, only in the core of the planet. If you find iridium, you can be sure that it comes from outside the Earth."

The presence of a thick layer of the dust in the Chicxulub crater can, according to the scientists, be considered conclusive evidence for the causal link between the impact and the extinction wave.

"The meteorite that crashed then had a size comparable to Brussels," said co-author Niels de Winter (VUB/University of Utrecht). "It created an enormous dust cloud that shrouded the earth in darkness for at least a year."

The long winter that followed the impact was too much for the cold-blooded dinosaurs, but also for many other species that did not survive the dark cold wave.

The Brussels Times

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