The fragments of the asteroid that impacted the Earth, killed dinosaurs and started an ice age have been found by NASA. Know why this discovery is significant.
NASA has made a fascinating discovery. It has found fragments of the same asteroid which struck the Earth 66 million years ago to destroy dinosaurs and start a mini ice age. The finding is not only scientifically relevant but also historically significant as it marks a turning point in the history of this planet. It was so incredible that NASA has labeled the finding as ‘mind-blowing’. The site where the asteroid fragment was discovered also unearthed other very interesting fossils along with it. They include a fish which had consumed the debris that was released during the asteroid strike, a turtle impaled on a stick and a dinosaur leg – which might be the only remnant of the global catastrophe that befell on that day, 66 million years ago.
The discoveries were made at the fossil site in the Hell Creek Formation in North Dakota. Although the fossil site is located around 4,600 kilometers away from the site of impact at Chicxulub, it just goes on to show how far reaching the initial impact of the asteroid was. The story of these discoveries have been mentioned in the new documentary called ‘Dinosaur Apocalypse’, featuring naturalist Sir David Attenborough and paleontologist Robert DePalma. The documentary airs every Wednesday on the PBS show Nova.
NASA discovered fragments of the asteroid that struck the Earth and killed dinosaurs
The site where these discoveries were made has also revealed about the damaging strength of the asteroid. DePalma told CNN that he has found thousands of well preserved fish fossils in the area. It made him believe that the fishes “were buried alive by sediment displaced as a massive body of water unleashed by the asteroid strike moved up the interior seaway”. Unlike tsunamis, these instantaneously surging water bodies are called seiche. DePalma further revealed that the fishes died within an hour of the asteroid strike and not later in forest fire or the ice age.
“One piece of evidence after another started stacking up and changing the story. It was a progression of clues like a Sherlock Holmes investigation. It gives a moment by moment story of what happens right after impact and you end up getting such a rich resource for scientific investigation,” DePalma told CNN.
While not much is known about the composition of the asteroid fragment discovered by NASA, the space agency is going to run various tests on it to find out its structural composition and carbon dating to know how old it was.