A new study revealed the asteroid that extincted the dinosaurs from the earth about 65 million years ago, may have punctured the Earth’s crust. And it temporarily caused the surface of the planet to behave like a slow-moving fluid.
About 65 million years ago, when a space rock hit the earth, it bore a 18 miles deep hole potentially smashing right through the crust and into the mantle, and leaving scars on this planet that remain to this day.
This is the conclusion of a new study published on Science. This is a part of an a international research project that drilled cores of rock off the Mexican coast this year in an effort to uncover clues to the evolution of planets, and the extinction of all non-bird dinosaurs.
According to the researchers, the new findings may put light on how much impacts can reshape the face of planets and generate new habitats for life.
Rings of rocky hills, sometimes found in the centers of the major craters, are known as peak rings.
Most of these peak ring are familiar on extraterrestrial rocky bodies such as the Moon or Venus, making it difficult to analyze these structure in detail and pin down their origins.
Scientists, led by Joanna Morgan of Imperial College London and Sean Gulick of the University of Texas at Austin studied the gargantuan Chicxulub crater in Mexico to learn in detail about the peak rings. The gargantuan Chicxulub crater measures more than 180 kilometers. It is the only crater to have an intact peak ring on Earth.
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The crater resulted from the epic crash of an object about 10 kilometer wide, and the resulting impact is thought to have ended the age of dinosaurs.
Researchers examined the peak ring samples from under 18 meters of water in the Gulf of Mexico.
Sean Gulick, a marine geophysicist at UT Austin, said that they discovered granite that likely once was deeply buried for about 500 million years. In his opinion, “These deeply buried rocks rose up to the surface of the Earth within the first few minutes of the impact.”
After the impact, “the earth there would have temporarily behaved like a slow-moving fluid,” Gulick said. “The stony asteroid would have opened up a hole probably almost the thickness of Earth’s crust, almost 30 km deep, and on the order of 80 to 100 km wide,” he added.