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Dinosaur-ending impact may have been fast comet rather than asteroid

25 Mar 2013, 10:08 UTC
Dinosaur-ending impact may have been fast comet rather than asteroid
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Scientists from the Dartmouth College, New Hampshire, USA have presented their findings at the 44th Lunar and Planetary Science Conference, that the event that killed the dinosaurs may have been a comet impact rather than a meteorite or asteroid strike.
While dust and debris from an impact with a space object is still blamed for the rapid cooling on the Earth which is thought to have killed off most of the dinosaur population, a re-examimnation of the amount of rare metals (Iridium and Osmium) found in the layer released during the impact as the the 180km-wide Chicxulub crater in the Yukatan peninsular in Mexico was created now suggest that a much smaller object struck but with a much higher velocity. The result of this is that the scientists now suggest that a comet more fits the bill for this strike than an errant asteroid.
Comet strikes on planets are well known. In 1994, the broken up comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 (D/1993 F2) struck Jupiter causing “scarring” in the planets atmosphere. Next year, a comet is making a close flyby of the planet Mars. While expected to miss, scientists cannot be totally sure of Comet Siding Spring’s (2012 A1) trajectory given ...

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