(ORDO NEWS) — The Chicxulub meteorite, as you know, could have been related to the death of dinosaurs. Scientists in the US and UK have learned that a huge amount of sulfur has been thrown into the stratosphere – much more than previously thought.
The Chicxulub meteorite crashed into Earth about 66 million years ago. As many scientists suggest, if he did not become the main cause of the death of dinosaurs, then at least he could start this process or push the extinction that had already begun.
Nevertheless, biologists tend to be skeptical about catastrophic versions of the extinction of living organisms. In their opinion, in the biological world, there are already many mechanisms that can influence this.
Scientists from the universities of Syracuse, Texas (USA) and St. Andrews (UK) have shown that the consequences of the Chicxulub disaster could be much more serious than expected.
They presented their findings in an article for the PNAS magazine, where they talked about how the amount of sulfur in the air after the asteroid hit was previously underestimated.
The discovery was made by accident. Initially, the team of authors planned to study the geochemistry of ancient shells in the region of the Brazos River in Texas, near Chicxulub Crater, located on the Yucatan Peninsula.
Among other things, scientists took samples of the bottom sediment of the river, and then analyzed them, paying attention to the isotopes of sulfur and its derivatives.
It turned out that these isotopes have microscopic changes in masses that occur when sulfur enters the atmosphere and interacts with ultraviolet radiation.
“This can happen only in two cases: when there is no oxygen in the atmosphere, or when there is a lot of sulfur and it has risen very high in an oxygen-rich atmosphere,” said James D. Witts, one of the authors of the study, from Syracuse University. The first option is excluded, the second remains.
According to scientists, this was of great importance for climate change. Sulfur aerosols emitted by modern volcanic eruptions, for example, cause cooling. Researchers believe that the same thing happened on the planet after the impact of the Chicxulub meteorite, only on a more serious scale than expected.
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