The size of the meteorite that caused the extinction of the dinosaurs is… quite unexpected

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It is difficult to imagine a more catastrophic, more apocalyptic moment, in all the resounding immensity of the word, than the one that took place some 66 million years ago by the meteorite that wiped out the dinosaurs. If there was a moment that you deserve the cataclysm tag is that. Definitely.

Let’s review: the meteor generated an explosion so huge that scientists compare it to 10 billion atomic bombs like the one in Hiroshima, caused forest fires more than 1,448 kilometers away and unleashed a tsunami that turns any we’ve seen so far into small pool ripples, with waves that they reached over a kilometer in height and spread from the current Gulf of Mexico to all the oceans of the planet.

And it’s not not everything. As if fires and tsunamis weren’t enough, it pumped billions of tons of CO2 and sulfur into the atmosphere, triggering a long winter.

So devastating was the collision and especially its consequences that researchers believe it changed the climate of the planet. for several years and caused the extinction of about 75% of the species that inhabited the Earth, a large percentage that includes the dinosaurs.

A change of perspective

1366 2000 13

Not bad.

Especially when we move away from the nightmare figurescomparisons with atomic bombs and “nuclear winters” and we look at the characteristics of the “projectile”.

In Tim Urban’s Twitter account they have done it and the result is…shocking, to say the least. Not because it discovers anything that we could not intuit until now, but because of how impressive it is on a visual level when establishing a proportion between the Earth and the meteorite.

Let’s say that if we had seen how it approached our planet from a privileged box in space we would believe it resembled, more or less, a lethal and devastating speck of dust.

Let’s review the data again.

Although we still lack clues and almost every year research is published that provides data on how the collision was, most scientists agree in which about 66 million years ago a huge asteroid or comet crashed into the current Yucatan Peninsula, generating what we know today as the Chicxulub craterof 180 km in diameter and almost 20 deep.

It is believed that the diameter of this devastating projectile was around between 10 and 14 kilometers, considerable dimensions, of course; but that they are seen with another perspective when they are put on the scale of the Earth. The diameter of our planet around 12,800 kilometers and its circumference, the distance around the equator, exceeds 40,000 km. The data is somewhat less the southern circumferencebut it helps to understand why Tim Urban’s graph is so shocking.

The day after the Apocalypse: this was the first 24 hours after the asteroid that killed the dinosaurs

It is, in any case, a new perspective to approach and understand one of the most decisive episodes in the history of our planet.

The reality remains the same: 66 million years ago the Earth had a collision with a fireball the size of the island of Manhattan who was moving to an estimated speed of between 20 and 25 km/s and would generate a hecatomb that would devastate life on the planet, sweeping away 75% of species surface animals and plants and half of the marine ones.

Image | NASA, ESA, MA Garlick (space-art.co.uk), University of Warwick, and University of Cambridge

It is difficult to imagine a more catastrophic, more apocalyptic moment, in all the resounding immensity of the word, than…

It is difficult to imagine a more catastrophic, more apocalyptic moment, in all the resounding immensity of the word, than…

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