Cretaceous-Tertiary Mass Extinction

1031 Words5 Pages
How did Dinosaurs go Extinct? Over the past few centuries or so, scientists have long endeavored to unravel the enigma surrounding the Cretaceous-Tertiary Mass Extinction, which took place 65 million years ago. This event is most notorious for the halt of existence for the dinosaurs, undeterred by the fact that nearly three fourths of all flora and fauna species subsisting on Earth went extinct. Consequently, Paleontologists have proposed a profusion of theories to decipher how the Cretaceous-Tertiary Mass Extinction transpired. However, a sheer bulk of the theories makes no sense whatsoever. For instance, in the early 20th century, paleontologist George Wieland argued that dinosaurs ate themselves into extinction (Switek, “The Top Ten Weirdest…show more content…
In 1980, physicist Luis Alvarez and his son geologist Walter Alvarez proposed the theory that a cosmic impact from an asteroid or comet provoked the Cretaceous-Tertiary Mass Extinction. Scientists later on found hints of an asteroid collision when they noticed an inordinate crater, more than 180 kilometers wide, near the town of Chicxulub in Mexico. This collision was omnipotent in strength, as it would have released as much energy as 100 trillion tons of TNT (Choi, “Asteroid Impact That Killed the Dinosaurs: New Evidence”). The asteroid impact was found to have materialized 65 million years ago, concurring with the Cretaceous-Tertiary Mass Extinction. Moreover, both iridium, a metal typically scarce on Earth’s crust but more prevalent in asteroids and magma deep within the planet, and impact ejecta, matter ejected out of a crater by an erupting volcano or during a meteorite impact, were found in anomalously high amounts in the thin worldwide layer of clay which marked the Cretaceous-Tertiary Boundary. Furthermore, quartz crystals found near the Cretaceous-Tertiary Boundary were detected to show a distinctive pattern of fracturing caused by high-energy impacts or explosions (“What Killed the Dinosaurs?”). All things considered, the a dramatic asteroid impact may as well be the reason why dinosaurs don’t coexist with us humans
Open Document