The asteroid, which caused the Mel-Paleogene extinction, filled the atmosphere with sulfur and carbon dioxide and caused much more serious climate changes than anticipated.
It is believed that the mechanisms of the death of dinosaurs and many other species of living organisms about 65 million years ago were triggered by a collision with the earth of a large meteorite with a diameter of about 12 km. Modern evidence of this impact remained Chicxulub Crater in Mexico, although its effects on the biosphere of the planet felt quite quickly. The air was filled with particles of dust, sulfur and carbon dioxide, dramatically reducing the amount of solar radiation that reaches the surface of the planet, and causing a global temperature drop.
Working in the Institute of Planetology in the United States, Natalia Artemieva and her colleague from the Imperial College of London, Joanna Morgan (Joanna Morgan) conducted a detailed simulation of the impact of the asteroid Chicxulub and its consequences. Their article is published by the journal Geophysical Research Letters. According to the authors, the collision occurred at a speed of at least 1 km / s and at an angle of about 60 degrees. These figures made it possible to show that the strike probably threw out about 325 billion tons of sulfur and 425 billion tons of carbon dioxide – it is three times more sulfur and three times less CO2 than it was thought up to now, and approximately 10 times more than all global emissions for 2014
One of the results of simulations conducted by Natalia Artemieva and her co-authors a few years ago: the future Chicxulub crater 8 seconds later after the impact at an angle of 45 degrees. Left – substances (the atmosphere is shown in blue, the sedimentary layer is yellow, the bottom layer of the lithosphere is brown, the material of the asteroid is gray), on the right is the temperature / © Pierazzo and Artemieva, 2012
Finally, calculations have shown that such quantities of gases, filling the atmosphere, should lead to a sharp and rather long drop in temperature. In the opinion of the authors, the average temperature in that period fell by as much as 26 ° C – below zero – and kept (on average) at this level at least three years after the collision. It is not surprising that not all inhabitants of the planet experienced the Mel-Paleogene extinction.