Deadly asteroid crash that killed off the dinosaurs also caused a cataclysmic tsunami across the globe.
Nearly 66 million years ago, when a city-size asteroid crashed into Earth, it not only wiped out the dinosaurs but also triggered a monster tsunami rippling around the planet, reveals a new study. The asteroid was about 8.7 miles (14 kilometres) wide. Its crash created a crater about 62 miles (100 kilometres) across near Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula and triggered a mass extinction of 75% of animal and plant life on the planet including Dinosaurs.
As per the research published in American Geophysical Union Advance, the asteroid crash created a series of cataclysmic events like global temperatures fluctuation; plumes of aerosol, soot and dust filled air; as well as triggered wildfires. It also resulted in a tsunami which was thousands of times more energetic than modern tsunamis caused by earthquakes.
Researchers studied nearly 120 ocean sediment cores from across the globe to understand the tsunami and its reach. The authors estimated that the initial energy of the tsunami was as much as 30,000 times higher than the deadly December 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, that killed over 2,30,000 people.
To study the asteroid crash and its impact, researchers firstly focused on “boundary sections” or marine sediments that were deposited just before or after the asteroid impact. “The distribution of the erosion and hiatuses that we observed in the uppermost Cretaceous marine sediments are consistent with our model results, which gives us more confidence in the model predictions,” said Molly M. Range, the author of the study.
For the modelling, researchers used hydrocode to simulate the first ten minutes of the asteroid impact including the crater formation as well as the beginning of the tsunami. The model suggested that after two and a half minutes of the asteroid hit, a curtain of ejected materials caused the 4.5-kilometre high wave that subsided after the materials fell back to the Earth and nearly ten minutes later, a 1.5-kilometre-high tsunami began sweeping across the ocean in all directions.