Friday, May 14, 2004

EurekAlert: Impact at Bedout: 'Smoking gun' of giant collision that nearly ended life on earth is identified

"Evidence is mounting that 251 million years ago, long before the dinosaurs dominated the Earth, a meteor the size of Mount Everest smashed into what is now northern Australia, heaving rock halfway around the globe, triggering mass volcanic eruptions, and wiping out all but about ten percent of the species on the planet. The 'Great Dying,' as it's called, was by far the most cataclysmic extinction event in Earth's history, yet scientists have been unable to finger a culprit as they have with the dinosaur extinction. A new paper published in Science, however, claims to identify the crater made by that meteor, and it builds upon an ongoing body of evidence by researchers at the University of Rochester and the University of California at Santa Barbara (UCSB), that points the finger for the Great Dying squarely at the heavens. "
This is becoming a recurring theme on this blog (see here, here, and here). Scientist have evidence that impacts of NEOs caused 2 of the 5 known mass extinctions on earth. Luckily for us it seems to happen every few million years. See the article from Science: "Bedout: A Possible End-Permian Impact Crater Offshore of Northwestern Australia" by
L. Becker, R. J. Poreda, A. R. Basu, K. O. Pope, T. M. Harrison, C. Nicholson, R. Iasky. 5/13/04. DOI: 10.1126/science.1093925 (PDF for subscribers right now is here)

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