The effect that wiped out the dinosaurs and brought hell on Earth began at the mysterious edges of the solar system, according to scientists.
Scientists have long agreed that the dinosaurs were wiped out by the “Chicxulub collision,” which left a vast crater off the coast of Mexico that is 93 miles wide and 12 miles deep.
They also agreed on the devastating horror the effect would have caused. He wiped out nearly three quarters of the life on Earth, leaving the Earth in an endless night and a winter of 18 months filled with fire raining down from the sky.
But what was less clear was what actually caused this effect. Scientists do not know if the object was a comet or an asteroid, or where it came from, or how it reached Earth with such a destructive force.
The answer to this question not only sheds light on the end of the dinosaurs, but also on the state of the solar system and our place within it, given the fear that we might also experience another mass extinction.
New research – published today in the journal Scientific Reports, And it was written by scholars including Avi Loeb of Harvard University – trying to answer that question. By analyzing data about objects flying around the solar system, as well as simulating how gravity pushes them, they say they have found a way to explain how Earth was hit with this devastating force.
They suggest that the body that wiped out the dinosaurs began in the Oort Cloud, a comet shell at the edge of the solar system. They suggest that a comet’s piece was derailed by Jupiter’s gravity and sent flying toward the sun, breaking the rocks into pieces.
“Basically, the buyer works as a kind of pinball machine,” said Siraj, a university student who worked on the paper with Professor Loeb. “Jupiter kicks these incoming long-range comets into orbits that bring them very close to the sun.”
These comets took a long time to circle the sun – and give it the name of the sun patrons and long-range commentaries.
“When you have these shepherds of the sun, the melt does not last much, which is a very small part in relation to the total mass, but the comet is so close to the sun that the part closest to the sun feels stronger,” Mr. Siraj said: “The pull of gravity from the part farthest from the sun, causing In tidal force. “
“You get what’s called a tidal disturbance event and so these large comets that are really approaching the sun break up into smaller comets. Basically, on their way out, there is a statistical chance that these smaller comets collide with the Earth.”
This story conflicts with one of the other major theories about where the collider came from: that it was a piece of a larger asteroid that came from the asteroid belt that stretches between Jupiter and Mars.
The new paper indicates that an object that begins life in the Oort cloud is more feasible in part to its composition. Research at Chicxulub crater and other similar craters suggests that the bodies that caused it were relatively primitive bodies called carbon chondrites – such a combination is more likely in Oort cloud bodies than in the asteroid belt, the researchers say.
The researchers say the hypothesis can be tested with further study of the craters themselves, including similar craters on the moon.
When the Vera Rubin Observatory in Chile begins its work next year, scientists may also be able to see long-lived comets and see if they are behaving this way.
“We should see smaller fragments coming to Earth more frequently from the Oort cloud,” said Professor Loeb. “I hope we can test the theory by getting more data about long-lived comets, getting better statistics, and maybe seeing evidence of some fragments.”