(ORDO NEWS) — The new study claims that an event such as an ice period could have started for only one reason – the rain from asteroids that hit our planet. The lead author of the new scientific work is Kentaro Terada, professor from Osaka University (Japan).
Throughout history, the Earth has been bombarded by asteroids, some of which could trigger major global events. A new study found that one such incident was a massive stream of asteroids that littered both the Earth and the Moon 800 million years ago.
The researchers found that during this monstrous stream, the asteroids that hit the Earth were significantly larger than the asteroids responsible for the extinction of the dinosaurs 66 million years ago.
Thus, according to a new study, 800 million years ago, an ice age could only have caused asteroid rain. Evidence has been found for a similar asteroid attack that, hitting the Earth 470 million years ago, could have triggered a drop in sea level, the appearance of glaciers and a change in the biological environment.
It is noteworthy that the Chicxulub impact crater on the Yucatan Peninsula was formed 66 million years ago, when a large meteorite with a diameter of 6.8 to 50.3 kilometers collided with the Earth. However, this event cannot be compared with what happened 800 million years ago. It was a real “shower” of asteroids, the mass of which was 30-60 times the mass of the asteroid responsible for Chicxulub.
This impact occurred prior to the Cryogen period between 635 and 720 million years ago, when the Earth was covered with icy deserts. This was a period of great ecological and biological change, according to the researchers.
Due to the erosion and movement of tectonic plates that occur on Earth due to volcanoes and other geological processes, it is difficult for scientists to study exactly what impact the asteroids had on the Earth during that period. the impact on our planet in the past, and the date when they occurred. It is believed that any impact craters on Earth before 600 million years ago have already been erased and cannot be tracked. What can not be said about the satellite of the Earth – the Moon.
The moon, which during all this time has not been subject to the processes of erosion and weathering, has provided scientists with a useful alternative for studying craters and understanding the general history of the Earth and the Moon.
In this new study, the researchers used data collected by the Japan Space Agency’s lunar orbiter Kaguya. It turned out that 59 craters observed on the Moon had a diameter of more than 20 km, and at least eight of them, according to all parameters, were formed almost simultaneously. Including the Copernicus crater, whose diameter is 93 kilometers.
According to the American agency NASA, the samples they collected after landing on November 19, 1969, were dated precisely to the period 800 million years ago. These eight craters probably formed simultaneously when an asteroid 100 km in diameter was destroyed, affecting the Earth and the Moon.
Professor Terada noted that during the asteroid “shower” a huge amount of phosphorus hit the Earth, as well as “a huge amount of volatile elements such as carbon, nitrogen and water hit the surface of the dry moon.”
When combined with other elements, phosphorus could become a nutrient for the growth of algae on Earth. In addition, the arrival of elements through asteroids to Earth could “affect marine biogeochemical cycles, severe disturbances in the Earth’s climate system and the emergence of animals,” the study authors write.
According to the researchers, the asteroid “shower” could have caused the asteroid Eulalia, a C-type asteroid from the asteroid belt between the Red Planet Mars and the gas giant Jupiter. It is the type C asteroids that contain carbon and are the most common asteroids in our solar system.
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