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Asteroid Causing Dinosaur Extinction Might Explain Life Formation on Earth

New findings pertaining to the asteroid impact that allegedly caused the extinction of dinosaurs might help us better understand how life started on Earth. The paper is published in the journal Science.

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We have new data to potentially explain how the dinosaur-killing event occurred, and as a result, how more important events like the start of life on Earth, both (possibly) linked to the collision of a huge asteroid into our planet. Scientists have, however, not been able to confirm the ‘how’ of the matter; they have not unveiled the mystery of the asteroid-kills-dinosaurs event, specially because of the inaccessibility of the Chicxulub crater which is thought to have been left by the said collision. But, this might now no more be a problem as a team of researchers have managed to obtain rock samples from the crater from 1,300 metres underneath the sea bed in Mexico.

The findings constitute evidence of the formation of the peak ring which makes up the inner ridges of the crater. Furthermore, the new data suggests that the asteroid impact has made the rocks of the peak ring more porous, a feature that might prepare the environment for the formation of simple living organisms. Now, how do we connect the dots from here? The scientists explain that if this was true, it could be made into a model as to how other such impacts paved the way for the formation of life on Earth.

It is to be noted that the peak ring of mountains is unique to the Chicxulub crater. No such concentric layout of mountain peaks lying inside a crater is found elsewhere on our planet. Scientists usually use the “dynamic collapse model” to describe the formation of the peak ring. According to this hypothesis, underground rocks would have been displaced downwards and outwards, and then formed a central peak at the surface; this peak would have later collapsed, thereby moving rocks from great depths of the crust and from overlying layers of sediments, ultimately resulting in a peak ring. The new findings actually hint at this—they show that the sedimentary layer of rocks was subjected to quite some disturbance; further observations suggest that a high-energy impact might have been behind the changes. Collisions of this nature which would cause this type of changes are thought to be key elements having been at play in the early history of planets like ours.

Elaborating on the rocks becoming more porous, the study authors explain that nutrients coming from hot water present beneath the Earth’s crust might have been contained inside these porous rocks.

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