Asteroid Chicxulub caused an earthquake that lasted several months

(ORDO NEWS) — Recently, scientists have paid much attention to the consequences of the Chicxulub asteroid falling to Earth, which killed the dinosaurs.

This gives an idea of ​​what will happen to our planet in the future if the catastrophe repeats. Not so long ago, we said that after an asteroid hit the Earth’s surface, a “nuclear winter” began on our planet, which lasted two years.

In a recent study, scientists discovered another devastating consequence of this catastrophe – the fall of an asteroid also caused a “mega-earthquake”.

His footprints are in the rocks around the Gulf of Mexico. Based on these traces, scientists were able to find out how long the earthquakes lasted, as well as how quickly vegetation began to recover after the disaster.

What was the impact power of the asteroid Chicxulub

Asteroid Chicxulub crashed into Earth 66 million years ago. This strike released energy equivalent to 10 billion bombs dropped on Hiroshima. A crater with a diameter of 180 km was formed at the impact site.

Until recently, this crater was considered the largest on our planet. True, as it turned out later, there is another crater that is larger than Chicxulub, but that’s another story.

Asteroid Chicxulub caused an earthquake that lasted several months 2
The Chicxulub crater is one of the largest on the planet

The catastrophe is known to have caused a mass extinction. And not only dinosaurs died. In total, 80% of all living things on the planet died out. The cause of extinction was not only “nuclear winter”, but also various disasters.

One of them is the strongest earthquake, the strength of which was more than 11 points. For comparison, the most powerful earthquake on record had a magnitude of 9.5. It happened in Chile in 1960.

The earthquake caused a tsunami with a wave height of more than one and a half kilometers.

Traces of the earthquake are preserved after millions of years

Scientists have long known that traces of the cataclysm that occurred tens of millions of years ago were preserved in the “mountain annals”. However, there have been no detailed studies in this regard.

A team of American scientists decided to correct the situation. In 2014, they discovered a layer of rock on Colombia’s Gorgonilla Island that contained many glass beads called tektites.

Asteroid Chicxulub caused an earthquake that lasted several months 3
The fall of the Chicxulub meteorite caused a tsunami more than one and a half kilometers high

The glass marbles were formed when molten rock was ejected into the atmosphere as a result of an asteroid hitting the planet’s surface.

In the atmosphere, the molten rock acquired a spherical shape and cooled, after which it fell to the ground in the form of glass balls. The discovery prompted scientists to continue studying the rocks.

As a result, they managed to find layers of rocks in Columbia, Mexico, Texas, Alabama and Mississippi that were deformed, had faults and cracks as a result of a powerful earthquake that occurred 66 million years ago. Some of them were even covered with rubble, which indicates a powerful tsunami.

Some layers showed signs of liquefaction. This phenomenon occurs in waterlogged deposits as a result of strong earthquakes. As a result of strong shaking, the soil loses its strength and begins to behave like a liquid.

Asteroid Chicxulub caused an earthquake that lasted several months 4
A layer of deformed rock on Colombia’s Gorgonilla Island shows that the impact caused the ground to shake for months

How long did the earthquake last after the fall of the Chicxulub asteroid

Almost all the rocks that scientists have studied are on the seabed. According to a study published in GSA, scientists were able to calculate how long an earthquake lasted after an asteroid impact from fern deposits.

Since the ferns did not recover for half a year or even a year, the planet shuddered for several months.

I must say that scientists continue to study rocks. In the near future, they plan to more accurately find out how powerful the earthquake was and how its power changed over time.

Well, we finally recall that another group of scientists came to the conclusion that not one, but two asteroids crashed into the Earth 66 million years ago, as we talked about earlier.

True, the second was not as large as Chicxulub, as a result of which it led to a local disaster.


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