The latest research on Earth’s geographical history tells us the asteroid that obliterated the dinosaurs was small compared to the other one scientists just found out about. Here’s the down-lo.
“That asteroid which took out the dinosaurs all those years ago? That was nothing. Scientists say there was a bigger hunk of rock from space that whacked the Earth billions of years earlier.”
Andrew Glikson (Australian National University Planetary Institute), explains that the impact of this asteroid would have shaken the entire globe, causing huge tsunamis and reducing cliffs to pebbles.
This asteroid hit Earth 3.46 billion years ago, 280 million years before the one that killed the dinosaurs. Scientists estimate it to have been 12-18 miles wide.
Glikson and his team are basing their estimate on the size of the asteroid on their discovery of tiny glass beads called “spherules.” There’s no way to tell where this asteroid hit Earth, but the crater formed would have been miles wide. Volcanoes, earthquakes, and other various geological activity has covered it up, impossible for us to ever discover.
Some of the oldest sediment on Earth, discovered in Western Australia’s Marble Bar (which once formed the sea floor), is where they found the layer that tells us about the asteroid. Want more proof? The sediment contained the same amount of nickel, chromium, and platinum as those found in asteroids studied today.
Glikson says that the discovery raises hopes for further finds from Earth’s ancient, violent past.
“This is just the tip of the iceberg. We’ve only found evidence for 17 impacts older than 2.5 billion years, but there could have been hundreds,” Glikson says.
There’s no doubt that this asteroid could have significantly affected the way our beautiful planet has evolved over millions of years. And with this giant impact, who knows what else may have happened that we don’t know about? Further studies are underway, but one thing’s for sure: there are some things about our Earth that we may never know. This, however, is not one of them.
Elizabeth Meyer ’17