In a study published today, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences offered a scientific take on ‘The Chicxulub Impact’, the most catastrophic event believed to have led to the death of dinosaurs and nearly 75% of flora and fauna when a large asteroid of about 1 to 81 kilometers in diameter hit the Gulf of Mexico in the Caribbean.
At Tanis, an inland site in North Dakota, palaeontologists from the University of Kansas, unearthed an untainted motherlode of animal and fish fossils that were killed in the series of events that followed the K/Pg ( layer of clay rich in iridium) impact majorly, the seiche – the rushing wave that shattered the Tanis site.
According to De Palma and his colleagues, in the 2011 Tohoku earthquake in Japan, surges were stimulated in Norway just 30 minutes after the impact
So, Cretaceous-Tertiary extinction, that is, the KT event, might have led to similar surges in water bodies before any other aftermath could have reached. They distinguish the event from a Tsunami by a reasoning that tsunami could not have killed such a massive aquatic life so it had been the seismic waves that got the water splattering before the tektites coming with a ballistic trajectory from space would have rained down, thereby, killing fishes who are believed to taken the ejecta while gaping as they breath inside the water.
Nobelist Luis Alvarez and his son proposed that an asteroid or comet is responsible for K/Pg impact. Later, scientists found a layer of iridium on fossils which signed towards an enormous collision which made them believe that the K/Pg impact lead to the melting of bedrocks and pulverisation of asteroids which caused tektites to fall along with debris of Shocked quartz and glass spherules.
This clarified the occurrence of K/Pg impact due to falling of the asteroid chicxulub leading to the capping off the Cretaceous.
Jan Smit, a retired professor from Vrije University in Amsterdam went to analyse and date the tektites. He concluded that charred log covered in amber about 4m long acted as an aerogel when tektites fell and on dating them concluded that they came from K-T boundary. He found the buried body of a Triceratops and a duck-billed hadrosaur which led to the conclusion that dinosaurs were alive back then.
Dr. Steve Brusatte, a paleontologist at the University of Edinburgh, told The Independent, “This is hugely exciting if true, but it will take extraordinary evidence to convince paleontologists.”