Skip to comments.Asteroid Breakup May Have Doomed Dinosaurs
Posted on 09/05/2007 11:55:02 AM PDT by LibWhacker
Its a disaster scenario that Hollywood has picked up on (think Deep Impact). An incoming object menaces the Earth. Scientists try to destroy it with nuclear weapons, but the horrified populace soon discovers that the blast has simply broken the object into pieces, each with the potential to wreak havoc planet-wide. Now we learn that an impact between two asteroids causing a similar crack-up may have resulted in the cataclysmic event some 65 million years ago that destroyed the dinosaurs.
Researchers from Southwest Research Institute and Charles University (Prague) have been studying the asteroid (298) Baptistina, combining their observations with numerical simulations to model the impact event. As the theory goes, Baptistinas parent body, some 170 kilometers in diameter, was hit by another asteroid approximately 60 kilometers wide. The result: The Baptistina asteroid family, a cluster of fragments in similar orbits that once included 300 bodies larger than 10 kilometers and 140,000 bodies larger than one kilometer.
Asteroid strike on Earth
With all the characteristics of a carbonaceous chondrite meteorite, the Baptistina parent asteroid makes a nice match for the impactor that created the Chicxulub crater in the Yucatan. Sediment samples show that it, too, had a carbonaceous chondrite composition, and the teams simulations produced a ninety percent probability that it was indeed a member of the Baptistina family. Moreover, the simulations indicate that the lunar crater Tycho may also have been produced by an impactor with a Baptistina pedigree.
The original breakup is thought to have occurred some 160 million years ago, after which the fragments orbits would have evolved as they absorbed sunlight and re-radiated energy away as heat. Many of the fragments escaped the main asteroid belt and became potential Earth-crossers. The researchers believe that about two percent of these objects actually went on to strike Earth. Call it the Baptistina bombardment, a surge in impacts that peaked 100 million years ago.
We are in the tail end of this shower now, says William Bottke (Southwest Research Institute). Our simulations suggest that about 20 percent of the present-day, near-Earth asteroid population can be traced back to the Baptistina family.
The impact histories of both Earth and Moon seem to support the supposition, showing a two-fold increase in the formation rate of large craters over the past 100 to 150 million years. That should make an emphatic point about the asteroid belt: Its history of collision and orbital change may well play a significant role in the history of our planet. We need to develop and deploy the tools that can alter the orbits of potential impactors, or do we want to assume that our inadequate catalog of Earth-crossing objects will give us time enough to act?
The paper is Bottke et al., An asteroid breakup 160 Myr ago as the probable source of the K/T impactor, Nature 449 (September 6, 2007), pp. 48-53 (abstract).
LOL! I don't think so
That would be the mother lode in the Tycho crater if this proves out. Set up the moon base there.
We need one of those laser thingies like they had on that Star Trek episode where Kirk becomes an Indian.
People who break up asteroids leading to the extinction of large land animals are 17 percent more likely to post duplicate threads sniffed out by former dromedaries.
Where have you been hiding?
Any time a couple breaks up, it can be traumatic for those who have to deal with the aftermath.
Just wait a week. it will be something else again.
Didn’t Velikovsky write about something like this 50-75 years ago - and get derided as a crank?
Just wait a week. it will be something else again.
Right. The words “may have” makes me stop reading. It’s a theory - an opinion and everyone has one. I guess they have to come up with something now and they to keep on the gravy train. Give me proof, darn it!
Once I figured out how to get the straight jacket off, the orderlies weren't that hard to out-run. The trick is you have to dislocate a shoulder first. I learned it from Mel Gibson in Leathal Weapon II (a highly underrated sequel in spite of Danny Glover).
What about the theory that they mostly died of a global deluge ?
No such theory.
No conflict with Poe’s law, however.
Love that cartoon!!
Yep.. breakups are hard on everyone.. LOL
You know what makes liberals mad? The fact that Dinosaurs died and made room for man.
Once I figured out how to get the straight jacket off, the orderlies weren’t that hard to out-run.
My problem is the opposite. They keep trying to take the thing off and I keep trying to put it back on. I’ve really been enjoying the Barnaby Jones reruns they show here at the, uh, farm.
Stellar couple breaks up: pet dinosaurs hit hardest!!
The odds of two asteroids in the vastness of space colliding within the gravitational pull of earth has to be monumentally hugh.
And I STILL love how these ‘asteroids’ only targeted dinosaurs! All other life on this planet escaped harm...
What gives you this idea?
Um, that's not exactly how things are supposed to have happened...
That religious belief was abandoned by early creationist geologists--who were trying to prove the global flood--about 1830.
Name names please.
Reverend Adam Sedgwick, Woodwardian Professor of Geology at Cambridge University, and President of the Geological Society of London.
An article describing the capitulation of the last major holdout for the global flood in geology (made during a speech on February 18, 1831) appears here.
Must’ve been raining iridium that day!
Dale: No, but my dad does. He can't even sit on the toilet some days.
I'm not saying planets can't collide (in fact they now think that's how the moon was created), but that was very early in the history of the solar system. I think mainstream scientists believe things have been pretty stable since those early days of the "heavy bombardment," at least when it comes to planets.
PROTON FAILS JUST AFTER LIFTOFF
Two minutes after blasting off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan tonight, a Russian heavy-lifting Proton rocket suffered a malfunction of its second stage, marketing firm International Launch Services said. Destroyed in the launch failure was the JCSAT 11 communications spacecraft, the first commercial Japanese satellite to ever fly on Proton.
That’s all for now
100% of all Amphibians, Sea Turtles, Alligators & Crocodiles, Diatoms, Dinoflagellates, Honey Bees, birds to name a few.
Not to mention, that this asteroid somehow caused almost all Dinosaur species to start going extinct 3 million years before it actually hit
Things are going extinct all the time. A number of large preditors have gone extinct within the last 10,000 years.
Something, however, finished off the dinosaurs, along with half of all known species.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.