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The age of dinosaurs lasted 165 million years, however that modified one fateful spring day 66 million years in the past. Scientists have lengthy recognized that a big object smacked into the area we now know because the Yucatan Peninsula, leading to a mass extinction that ended the reign of dinosaurs on Earth. Following the invention of a second influence crater off the coast of Africa, we would need to rethink the top of the Cretaceous interval.

Scientists are calling the potential influence construction of the nadir crater. They are saying it was fashioned at roughly the identical time because the well-known 100-mile-wide Chicxulub crater within the Gulf of Mexico. The brand new crater is smaller at 5 miles in diameter, and it is lined by a number of hundred ft of sediment. It was found accidentally when Heriot-Watt College researcher Uisdean Nicholson used seismic knowledge to check the tectonic plate division between South America and Africa. And there it was — one thing that appeared very very similar to an influence crater.

The newly revealed examine says the construction has all of the widespread hallmarks of an influence crater, together with a tall rim and a central uplift. The Chicxulub impactor was undoubtedly the first menace to life on Earth 66 million years in the past. That occasion rained fireplace on a lot of the globe and blotted out the solar for years, however a second giant influence actually did not assist issues. The nadir impactor was most likely round 1,300 ft (400 meters) throughout, and it plunged by way of half a mile of water earlier than hitting bedrock.

Nicholson tells CNN that such an influence might have induced robust earthquakes throughout Africa and a tsunami that swept throughout the Atlantic Ocean, which existed however was a lot narrower on the time. Dwelling creatures which may have survived the Chicxulub occasion might need been worn out by this second influence.

If confirmed, the Nadir crater might rewrite geologic historical past. All we will say proper now’s that there is one thing underwater off the coast of Guinea that appears like an influence crater. Though Nicholson’s preliminary courting reveals the Nadir occasion occurred across the similar time as Chicxulub, there’s a margin of error of 1 million years. If Nadir and Chicxulub are associated, they may have been a part of a cloud of objects that showered Earth, or maybe they have been a part of the identical object that broke aside within the ambiance earlier than touchdown in two totally different locations. To substantiate that is the results of an asteroid strike, we would wish to drill into the seafloor and analyze the mineral content material. Eventually, somebody goes to try this.

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