HomeTrendingDiscovery In The Crater That Killed The Dinosaurs

Discovery In The Crater That Killed The Dinosaurs

Consider a world populated by dinosaurs. A planet where dinosaurs roam freely and humans coexist peacefully, swapping food and occasionally utilizing them as transportation. The options are unlimited, particularly when it comes to dinosaur stories. There isn’t much information on what life would have been like if that were the case 

Science made it possible for us to envision a world filled with these majestic creatures. However, their nature is yet to be determined. 

Chicxulub is a 66-million-year-old crater that spills 12 miles into the earth. Most academics concurred that a meteorite wiped out the dinosaurs and that it struck Mexico. This was the consensus that was reached when an academic at Imperial College, Joanna Morgan, became apart of the studies. 

The scale of the Chicxulub crater, however, remained a point of contention. The truth remains that something massive collided with Earth and caused a hole the size of the moon, and scientists were more concerned by its enormity than its impact.

Morgan started a study in 1996  that would last three-months. No other study of its kind had been done before.  Her team used a powerful air gun mounted behind a research boat to blast seismic waves at the bottom, which bounced back and provided a clearer picture of the crater.

The research was centered around the magnitude of the crater as well as the depth of the crater instead of space debris falling to earth from space and which may have even changed the course of history.

Scientists believe that a comet or asteroid, with a diameter ranging from 6.8 to 50.3 meters, collided with Earth at this very location. According to calculations, the Chicxulub crater has a circumference of 93 miles.

You can visualize its magnitude by comparing it to the distance between New York City and Philadelphia, which is 1.6 miles shorter. We were told the size, distance, and depth of the crater, but the scientists avoided answering the question we all had: did the stones contain diamonds? 

Experts measured the force with which the space object collided with the planet. The asteroid had between 21 and 921 billion times the energy of the atomic bombs unleashed on Hiroshima during WWII.

An collision that strong, swift, and forceful would have obliterated anything in moments; the dinosaurs had no chance, yet the collision was so quick that they didn’t even feel it. They most likely only saw a burst of light and then everything went quiet.

Speaking of the impact sight, Marine geophysicist, Sean P.S Gulick, explained the rarety of the pink ring feature, stating, ‘Chicxulub is the only crater on earth with an intact ring that we can go and sample, it is ground zero of the Cretaceous extinction event’.

But a terrifying and surprising discovery came next.

According to the dimensions of this impact crater, it is the second-largest on earth. The largest is near Vredefort in South Africa.  Some might think that the earth is a massive magnet when it comes to comets, as they wait for the third one to hit.

But scientists recently discovered the secrets of Chicxulub.

In contrast, the Chicxulub crater was discovered only recently. Despite its geological age of millions of years. During the search for petroleum, Glen Penfield and Antonio Carmago discovered the crater in 1978. In the process of searching for oil they found something else.

When you think about it, most significant discoveries were made by accident; no one went out looking for antiquities, and they just stumbled upon them.

Penfield was compelled to investigate further after making this unexpected discovery. In the 1960s, he ordered a gravity chart from his workplace. The map and Penfield’s magnetic survey had something unusual about them, according to Penfield. Penfield noticed the two arcs formed a circle when they were joined together.

Penfield believed he’d stumbled upon something special as a result of this. He’d finally discovered a pivotal moment in history, the day the asteroid triggered the Big Bang and the birth of existence. 

Penfield resolved to abandon his investigation, but just as he was about to give up, Joanna Morgan and her crew were preparing to find the answers they needed. Morgan was interested in gathering seismic data.

As a result, she chose Chicxulub as the next objective. The initiative needs approval from the International Ocean Discovery Program, as well as global participation in marine research. She also need funds in order to harvest deep cores. Her idea, however, was turned down owing to financial constraints.

Most experts theorize that the asteroid struck Earth 66 million years ago, wiping out most dinosaurs and life on the planet before it. An alternative hypothesis suggested that dinosaurs were dying out before the impact.

In 2016, a never-ending argument developed about why some dinosaurs were disappearing as new ones evolved. Most dinosaur species were extinct, and evolution did not occur as predicted. In conclusion, this research scientist found that some giant dinosaurs that ate plants began dying 50 million years before the Chicxulub extinction, which effectively ends the idea that the Chicxulub extinction was the great bang.

Fossils from New Mexico and Colorado show that the doomsday asteroid of 66million years ago may have caused the extinction of forests. However, in research published last year, Joanna Morgan put that idea to the test by setting pine needles to fire and found that the thermal pulse from impact couldn’t ignite the kind of global canopy-replacing wildfires.

Morgan’s version of events reduced sunlight and debris as the cause of the plants drying out and dying. In short the sun, the speed of debris created friction and new plants emerged and learned how to survive in those climate conditions. 

Another study was done on well-preserved Cretaceous ecosystems in Antarctica and found two temperature spikes, including a larger one before the impact. Scientist pin the initial warming on staggering volcanic eruptions that created India’s Deccan Traps around the same time.

However, critics say the fossil record is not complete enough for such an analysis. The take from this is that dinosaurs stood no chance regardless of whether the comet hit or not, they were doomed but also not so doomed.

Morgan and her team concluded as follows once they concluded their seismic data. A gigantic cosmic rock crashed into the ground, instantly creating a crater that was 60miles wide and 20miles into the earth. 

The initial impact created waves in the nearby gulf and in the same breath as fire was forming, a tsunami formed, charging in the opposite direction of the new crater. 

Can you imagine the horror of it all? Thanks to Hollywood, we got a glimpse of that terror in the movie, 2012. 

However, thanks to science, we now have a clear account of how dinosaurs were wiped out of existence. And, thanks to Russian scientists, we also have new insights into the earth’s crust.

The further they drilled down towards the earth’s core, the more they felt their heartbeat race. This wasn’t right. They looked nervously at each other. Tensions were rising as were the monitors’ warning signs. 

The borehole had surprised them so many times before, maybe it will do the same now. But they had no idea that the mystery they were uncovering wasn’t meant to be disturbed.  

At the remote Kola Peninsula in north-west Russia, the air was full of thrill and triumph in their competition to beat America in the race towards the earth’s core. 

It was an exciting time for the team of Russian scientists and researchers as they began to peel back the earth’s mysteries layer by layer. But they had no idea that what they’d discover would put a terrifying end to their mission. 

They stood wide-eyed as they overlooked the scene unfolding on the operations camera, and raced to hit the emergency stop button, but it was too late. The site has been abandoned ever since. 

Their mission was simple: they were going to drill as close as possible to the earth’s crust. They aimed to reach a depth of 49,000 feet, but they never would. 

Currently, the hole remains roughly a third of the way through the Baltic Continental crust at 40,230 feet or 7.5 miles deep. It is known as the deepest borehole in the world, but it’s mysteries are still being analyzed and feared today.

Before the Kola borehole was drilled, scientists could only hypothesize about what lay beneath the earth’s surface. Still, they thought they had a pretty good idea of what to expect. But they were wrong. 

When the Russian team first started drilling in 1970, they never could have imagined their findings would have them running from their mission, abandoning their life’s work and sealing it within the ground forever. 

During the Cold War era, the space race stole all the spotlight, but this subterranean race was equally important and exciting, a fact echoed when they uncovered their first discovery. 

Previously, scientists used seismic waves to gather information about the earth’s composition. They discovered an interruption somewhere between three to six kilometers below the surface and believed that a transition in rock type was the cause, i.e. from granite to basalt. 

However, the team found no change in rock type. Instead, they discovered granite rock continued to the core but went through some kind of metamorphic change. It was the first of many puzzling discoveries to follow. 

As the team of scientists and researchers daily monitored their findings and managed the huge operation, they speculated about what they might find in the samples of earth they’d uncover. 

Talks of pre-historic creatures, or ancient organisms filled their curious minds. But in all their excitement, they failed to consider the real dangers of a mission of this callabre. It was their first mistake. 

Things started to get stranger once they drilled past their first major discovery of the metamorphic change within the granite rock. Now, the team was backtracking in their confidence and expertise about what they were doing. Now, they were truly digging into a world unknown.

The drill reached fractured rock and then broke through to free flowing water. They were several miles beneath the surface. According to science, what they were seeing wasn’t possible. 

It was a mystery that sent ripples of shock throughout the science community, and confirmed how little we still know about our own earth. However, some scientists were quick to affirm that the water’s presence was proof of ancient, biblical floods.

Now, it’s believed that the mysterious water consists of hydrogen and oxygen atoms that were squeezed out of surrounding rocks by astronomical pressure, now forever trapped. Or so they thought.  

The scientists described the mud that came out of the superdeep borehole as “boiling” with hydrogen. This large quantity of hydrogen gas was something that once again took the scientist by complete surprise. 

As they got closer to the earth’s center, the team discovered their most exciting findings of the mission before disaster struck. Findings that were over two billion years old!

About four miles beneath the surface, the team detected microscopic plankton fossils in rocks that were over two billion years old! These “microfossils” somehow survived the extreme conditions that existed so far beneath the earth’s surface. Furthermore, they represented about 24 ancient species. 

A discovery that was nearly as mind-blowing as their final discovery that made them abandon the mission at once. 

The further the team drilled towards the earths crust, the more they could feel the tensions rise. Each kilometre became a nail-bitter. The borehole had surprise them so many times now that they had no idea would they were getting themselves into.

It was when they were looking at the monitors, detailing 40,230 feet below the ground that things took a drastic turn.

The temperature began to rise unexpectedly and then skyrocketed. What they expected to be a temperature reading of 212 degrees Fahrenheit shot into a reading of 356 degrees Fahrenheit.

Their heavy machinery was rendered useless in that environment and the operation immediately turned volatile. The team raced to hit the emergency breaks on the operation, fearing the worst.

Luckily, they stopped the machinery before any serious damage could be done. Knowing that they had gone as far as possible, they sealed the hole shut with a rusted metal cap, permanently burrying it’s mysteries back within the ground forever.

Since then, it has remained abandoned and untouched for 28 years. But that doesn’t mean the mission to explore the underworld has stopped too.

The search to discover what lies beneath our feet is still actively being explored by the International Discovery Programme that delves deep beneath the freezing Antarctic ocean’s floor.

There, they face even more challenges as they battle extreme pressures and temperatures in an attempt to explain the unsolved mysteries of this earth we call home. 


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