Sean Gulick, a research professor at the University of Texas Institute for Geophysics, conducted a new research which concluded that the dinosaurs had survived the impact of the asteroid, but ended up succumbing to the resulting climatic conditions. Gulick remarked that only an atmospheric effect could cause a global mass extinction. According to him, the new evidence suggested that heat blast followed by a period of intense cooling led to the death of dinosaurs. This new development disproves the original theory which blamed the asteroid for their extinction.
Scientists have observed that the asteroid struck the Earth about 65 million years ago. The location was very close to modern-day Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) believes that it created a huge crater measuring 180 km wide and 900 m deep. The asteroid crash impacted the planet in a manner equivalent to the strength of 10 billion nuclear bombs. Widespread wildfires, earthquakes, tsunamis are believed to have broken out, releasing chemicals into the atmosphere that led to severe cooling. Most scientists estimate that this was the reason for the extinction of more than 70% of the plant and animal life, including dinosaurs.
Two American scientists presented the theory of dinosaurs getting extinct in 1980. Subsequently, in 2016, a team led by Gulick went to the coast of the Yucatán Peninsula to obtain the rock samples beneath the crater. Their study, involving the examination of more than 130 m of rock built up after the asteroid strike, was recently published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Gulick said that the rock record provided the most detailed analysis of what happened in the post-asteroid crash period. They found evidence of burned material, sulfur, and dust that vaporised and entered the atmosphere. They observed that these substances blocked the Sun’s heat and caused the earth to cool.
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