TECH

Asteroid That Killed The Dinosaurs Plunged The Earth Into A Deep Freeze

The Earth was transformed into a ball of ice and darkness.

01/11/2017 13:34 GMT

We know that around 66 million years ago the dinosaurs were eradicated by a city-sized asteroid that struck the Earth.

What we’re not entirely sure of however is what happened straight after the impact, in the following years.

Well in much the same way that the arrival of winter signifies death in the book ‘Game of Thrones’, it appears as though winter was also the the downfall for our scaly relatives.

A team of researchers who have been drilling into the vast crater of the asteroid were able to confirm that not only was the Earth plunged into a deadly winter but that it was even worse than originally believed.

Reuters Photographer / Reuters

The research, carried out by scientists at the European Consortium for Ocean Research Drilling (ECORD), was able to take precise measurements of the conditions that occurred almost immediately after the asteroid hit.

What they found was that the moment the 12km object struck the Earth it would have immediately vaporised thousands of billions of tonnes of rock.

Much of this rock would have contained sulphur which would then be thrown up into the atmosphere.

To be clear, much of this is information we already know, however what the research team were able to do is actually say with greater accuracy just how much material was thrown up into the atmosphere (it was a lot).

According to Professor Joanna Morgan, from Imperial College London, and her team, they believe that around 325 gigatonnes of sulphur and around 425 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide. 

That sulphur would have plunged the Earth into a deep cooling period with the entire planet subjected to sub-zero temperatures.

To give you some idea of just how much cooler it would have been, previous research into climate change models found that just 100 gigatonnes of sulphur would lead to a drop in temperature of some 26 degrees celsius.

What’s worse is that it would have gone on for many years, making it almost impossible for life to thrive.

The end result? Well if the dinosaurs had survived the initial impact the likelihood is that the remaining species had to spend the next few years freezing and in almost complete darkness.

Be thankful you weren’t a dinosaur.