One of the oldest Whodunits in the galaxy was finally solved by Harvard University, possibly thanks to a simulation-driven super sleuthing. In this case, we may know the origin of the Chicxulub crater.
Experts have long believed the majority of dinosaur species became extinct after a massive asteroid responsible for the Chicxulub crater near Mexico hit Earth about 66 million years ago. However, a new theory is that the asteroids that scientists believe ended Rex’s reign were not a solitary local rock, but rather a scrap of a much larger body formed on the edge of the solar system. In addition, they also believe that it only managed to hit Earth after Jupiter disrupted its originally harmless trajectory.
In other words, Jupiter saw an opportunity to throw the first stone, and he did. According to Harvard simulations, the gravitational pull of the gas giant was enough to keep the comet off course and hurl it to Earth. Before the impact, the original piece splintered and luckily only a tiny piece managed to hit our planet. This “tiny” piece was about 50 miles wide and left a crater 20 or 30 km deep – basically, it’s like the entire city of Boston was hurled from space onto the ocean near Mexico.
The impact devastated sea levels, causing tsunamis to flow around, causing forest fires and shrouding the earth in an atmosphere of soot and precipitation. The results of this global catastrophe were the extinction of most of the large lizard creatures and the end of the dinosaur era.
But where did the asteroid come from? Yesterday’s scientists believed it must have come from a belt between Jupiter and Mars, but new research shows that it is highly unlikely. Given the chemical makeup of the impact deposits in the crater that these and other asteroids of similar or larger size encountered, scientists believe it is likely that they came from the Oort Cloud, a distant band of planetismalen found on the edges of our solar system .
The Harvard team found this out by testing their theory on computer simulations to understand the path that such an asteroid would have to take to affect our planet.
According to a press release from the university:
With statistical analyzes and gravitation simulations [Harvard researchers] Loeb and Siraj say that a significant portion of a type of comet originating from the Oort Cloud, a ball of debris at the edge of the solar system, was deviated from course and sent close to the Sun during its orbit by Jupiter’s gravitational field. whose tidal force broke pieces of rock. This increases the rate of comets like Chicxulub (pronounced Chicks-uh-lub) as these fragments cross Earth orbit and hit the planet roughly every 250 to 730 million years.
Quick attitude: Jupiter is an idiot. If it could have kept its gravity to itself 66 million years ago, we would ride pterodactyls to work and slide down a giant brontosaurus to get to the parking lot after leaving time. On the other hand, considering that we’ll never know how many asteroids our giant gaseous sister planet saved us from by being both belted and in the way … maybe we should just be thankful that we had a long enough window between had to extinction. Effects for humanity to spread and flourish.
The team’s study can be found here.
Published on February 15, 2021 – 21:57 UTC