Modeling helped calculate the angle of the “dinosaur” asteroid

Scientists have modeled the fall of the asteroid that formed the impact crater of Chicxulub on the Yucatan Peninsula, and found that he fell at an angle of 45 to 60 degrees to the surface of the Earth. With this angle of fall in the atmosphere the greatest amount of sulfur and carbon dioxide, which can lead to a significant change in climate on the planet. The results, therefore, can be another argument in favor of the fact that the asteroid impact led to the Cretaceous-Paleogene mass extinction, write scientists in Nature Communications.

Impact crater Chicxulub, located on the Peninsula
Yucatan, was formed about 66 million years ago due to falling asteroid with a diameter of
from 10 to 80 kilometers. The diameter of the crater is about 150 kilometers, making
it the second largest known on Earth and the only one
which has peak ring — circular structure located inside the crater and the surrounding center.

A large part of the crater is beneath the sedimentary rocks, so it was opened relatively recently (in 1978) by examining geophysical data. The fall of such a large body on the earth’s surface must have caused a catastrophic
implications for climate and life, while the approximate coincidence of age of the crater over time, the Cretaceous-Paleogene mass extinction gave rise to the hypothesis that the extinction resulted is the fall of an asteroid.

Scientists under
by Professor Gareth Collins (Gareth S. Collins) from Imperial College London has modelled the fall chekalovskoe of the asteroid. For this they used information about gravitational anomalies in the area of the crater and the details of the “Expedition 364” International
program ocean exploration (International Ocean Discovery Program), which has drilled exploratory wells to a depth of 1.3 km below
the ocean floor in the area of the peak ring of the crater.

For the simulation the researchers used a programdeveloped for calculations of physics processes
collisions and the formation of craters. The asteroid was modeled as a granite sphere, and the place where he fell, — as a flat surface consisting of
several layers with crustal thickness is 33 km. The trajectory of the asteroid is modeled to fall under the four angles (90, 60, 45 and 30 degrees), the diameter of the body increased with decreasing impact angle to maintain the specified
the radius of the resulting crater.

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