Scientists from the National University of Mexico and the International Ocean Discovery Program will soon be conducting a drilling expedition into a dinosaur-killing asteroid crater formed 66 million years ago.
The crater’s name is Chicxulub and it is located off the Yucatan coast in Mexico. It was caused by one of the most powerful asteroids to have ever plummeted on Earth, much stronger than the atomic bomb, having led to a vast number of natural disasters.
The asteroid seriously altered the Gulf of Mexico, removing enough sediment to cover Lake Superior 17 times. It generated earthquakes and tsunamis, which threw the debris in Florida and Texas and filled the Yucatan and Caribbean Basic with sand, gravel, boulders and rocks.
According to scientists, this event caused vast forest fires and spread so much debris into the atmosphere, that it actually blotted out the sun. This caused the extinction of dinosaurs, as well as most other living organisms.
The only survivors were some bird species and small mammals, which were able to continue their existence, despite such unfavorable conditions.
Researchers are now planning to drill 5,000 feet below the seabed, in the hopes of analyzing the peak ring of the crater and also search for signs of life.
The peak ring is actually a center-based circular structure, much like the mountain formations. When an asteroid hits Earth, it causes an effect similar to a rock hitting water. If it plummets at a high speed, then for a brief moment the asteroid acts like a liquid, forming a “transient crater”, which then splashes out.
Since the rocks from this peak ring are porous, scientists believe they may present microenvironments of exotic life and they should probably include proof of the earliest marine life, which resurrected after the event.
This famous crater, which was named after a nearby village, is 125 miles long and is expected to be drilled at the end of this month. The expedition is said to last for two months and it is the first opportunity that scientists have of actually studying the remains of this space rock, since the Gulf of Mexico has so far been taken over by commercial drilling.
According to Research Professor Sean Gulick, it is possible that over time life managed to renew itself in that area, so their endeavor could actually reveal important information for the future.
Image Source: NationalGeographic