Researchers help confirm what has always been hypothesized by examining an impact crater off the Gulf of Mexico.
Scientists at the University of Texas at Austin have found "hard evidence" of the asteroid that killed off dinosaurs. The research, published Monday and reported earlier by The Wall Street Journal, shows the asteroid caused wildfires and tsunamis after hitting with the impact of 10 billion WWII-era atomic bombs.
Inside an impact crater off the Gulf of Mexico scientists discovered charcoal and soil, swept inside by the backflow of a tsunami within the first 24 hours of the asteroid impact, research said. This showed how the blast ignited trees and plants thousands of miles away from the impact zone, and triggered a far-reaching inland tsunami across the Americas.
But no sulfur was found in the core of the impact crater -- meaning around 325 billion metric tons of sulfur was released into the atmosphere that day. This destroyed Earth's existing climate, blocking out the sun and causing a global cooling period that caused the "mass extinction" of the dinosaurs.
So the dinosaurs were first fried and then frozen, said Sean Gulick, a University of Texas Institute for Geophysics (UTIG) research professor at the Jackson School of Geosciences.
"The real killer has got to be atmospheric," Gulick said. "The only way you get a global mass extinction like this is an atmospheric effect."