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Dinosaur-killing asteroid behind Deccan Traps finds study

Dinosaur-killing asteroid behind Deccan Traps finds study

Dinosaur-killing asteroid behind Deccan Traps finds study  

This is one of the biggest revelations regarding the development of India’s Deccan Traps. A latest study claims that asteroids that hit this part of the world more than 66 million years ago not just killed dinosaurs but also caused massive Deccan trap.

It is needless to say that scientists behind the findings are very excited. Lead researcher Mark Richards, from the University of California, Berkeley while talking about the development says, “If you try to explain why the largest impact we know of in the last billion years happened within 100,000 years of these massive lava flows at Deccan, the chances of that occurring at random are minuscule”.

Researchers are of the view that the asteroid that slammed into the ocean off Mexico and killed off the dinosaurs probably rang the Earth like a bell, triggering volcanic eruptions around the globe that may have contributed to the devastation, researchers said. The researchers argue that the impact likely triggered most of the immense eruptions of lava in India known as the Deccan Traps, explaining the “uncomfortably close” coincidence between the Deccan Traps eruptions and the impact, which has always cast doubt on the theory that the asteroid was the sole cause of the end-Cretaceous mass extinction.

dinosaur d-mirificusRichard while further detailing about the findings says, “It’s not a very credible coincidence”. While the Deccan lava flows, which started before the impact but erupted for several hundred thousand years after re-ignition, probably spewed immense amounts of carbon dioxide and other noxious, climate-modifying gases into the atmosphere, it’s still unclear if this contributed to the demise of most of life on Earth at the end of the Age of Dinosaurs, Richards said.

Richards says that “This connection between the impact and the Deccan lava flows is a great story and might even be true, but it doesn’t yet take us closer to understanding what actually killed the dinosaurs and the ‘forams’”. He was referring to tiny sea creatures called foraminifera, many of which disappeared from the fossil record virtually overnight at the boundary between the Cretaceous and Tertiary periods, called the KT boundary. Richards proposed in 1989 that plumes of hot rock, called “plume heads,” rise through Earth’s mantle every 20-30 million years and generate huge lava flows, called flood basalts, like the Deccan Traps.

It struck him as more than coincidence that the last four of the six known mass extinctions of life occurred at the same time as one of these massive eruptions. Richards teamed up with experts in many areas to try to discover faults with his radical idea that the impact triggered the Deccan eruptions, but instead came up with supporting evidence.

There are other developments too. Paul Renne, a professor at the UC Berkeley Department of Earth and Planetary Science, re-dated the asteroid impact and mass extinction two years ago and found them essentially simultaneous, but also within approximately 100,000 years of the largest Deccan eruptions, referred to as the Wai subgroup flows, which produced about 70 per cent of the lavas that now stretch across the Indian subcontinent from Mumbai to Kolkata. Richards calculates that the asteroid that created the Chicxulub crater might have generated the equivalent of a magnitude 9 or larger earthquake everywhere on Earth, sufficient to ignite the Deccan flood basalts.

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