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Dino-killing asteroid caused a global tsunami, new study claims

Updated 2 months ago
Published Oct 5th, 2022 7:51PM EDT
An asteroid crashing into Earth in an illustration
Image: Andrea Danti/Adobe

A new study claims that the dino-killing asteroid believed to have completely wiped out the dinosaurs may have also caused a global tsunami that reset all oceanic sediment records at the time. 66 million years ago, a massive asteroid the size of a city slammed into the Earth, wiping out the dinosaurs. The event effectively reset Earth at the time, giving way for humankind to rise to where it is now.

But, this wasn’t just a dino-killing asteroid. The city-wide object also spurred a series of cataclysmic events, the new study published in American Geophysical Union Advances posits. Within 48 hours of the asteroid hit, the researchers say that a massive tsunami with waves over one mile high would have formed and circled the globe.

The tsunami, they say, would have been strong enough to completely rip up and reset the sediment history preserved at the bottom of the ocean at the time. Further, they say that they’ve discovered evidence of the path that the tsunami the dino-killing asteroid created. That path was discovered by studying over 120 ocean sediment cores from around the globe.

Tsunami huge wave in oceanImage source: eranicle / Adobe

The authors say this is the first time that a simulation of a global tsunami has been published in a peer-reviewed scientific journal. “This tsunami was strong enough to disturb and erode sediments in ocean basis halfway around the globe,” Molly Range, lead author on the study, said. (via CNN)

The study’s authors traced the path of the tsunami from the dino-killing asteroid’s point of impact, which is believed to have hit near the Yucatan peninsula. Known as the Chicxulub impact, it would have changed quite a bit about the world as we see it now, beginning with the dinosaurs and ending with the wiping of the ocean’s sediment history.

The study says that the tsunami created by the impact was a thousand times stronger than the modern tsunamis caused by earthquakes. It would have been even stronger than the Chilean megaquake believed to have driven humans away for more than 1,000 years.

Related coverage: A potentially hazardous asteroid keeps spinning faster.

Joshua Hawkins fell in love with writing and technology at a young age. Eventually he decided to combine the two and started writing about video games, the latest tech, and all the cool gadgets he could find. Whenever he isn’t busy writing about tech or gadgets, he can usually be found enjoying a new world in a video game, or tinkering with something on his computer.