Some argue a volcano explosion followed by a massive earthquake took them out, while others suggest a deadly disease, like a pandemic, suddenly killed the dinosaurs. One thing is sure; dinosaurs ruled the planet and suddenly one day, they were all gone.
ne of the most accepted theories regarding the sudden disappearance is that an asteroid or a comet impacted with earth and wiped out these mighty creatures. Now, a new study claims to piece together the events that would have led the comet into a collision with Earth. They suggest it was more than tens of miles wide in size and collided about 66 million years ago.
The proof of this collision is the Chicxulub impactor- a crater off the coast of Mexico. It is 93 miles (149 km) and 12 miles (19 km) deep. The collision is supposed to have wiped off three-quarters of the plant and animal species living on Earth at the time, including a trigger that led to mass extinction of dinosaurs.
Scientists often wondered the space rock to cause this disaster was an asteroid or a comet. The new study suggests it was actually a comet. The team with Avi Loeb, Frank B. Baird, and Amir Siraj suggest it was a comet from an Oort cloud, but it was dislocated from its course due to Jupiter’s gravitational field. Siraj compared the planet Jupiter to a pinball machine. As the rocks then propel forward and orbit around the sun, taking up to 200 years and are called sun grazers.
As it neared the sun, the sun’s tidal forces broke it apart. From here, the rocks (comets) could travel into Earth. The team suggests an event like this can happen every 250 to 730 million years or so.
“Our paper provides a basis for explaining the occurrence of this event. We are suggesting that, in fact, if you break up an object as it comes close to the sun, it could give rise to the appropriate event rate and also the kind of impact that killed the dinosaurs,” said Loeb.
According to their calculations, long-period comets impacting earth odds increase by a factor of ten. The odds of long-period comets becoming sun grazers increase by a chance of 20%.
Based on the chemical composition of Chicxulub crater impact, it was most likely carbonaceous chondrite. It is common in long-period comets.
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