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Scientists explore crater in Mexico linked to the extinction of dinosaurs

crater chicxulub mexico

Asteroid impact. Illustration of a large asteroid colliding with Earth on the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico. This impact is believed to have led to the death of the dinosaurs some 65 million years ago. The impact formed the Chicxulub crater, which is around 200 kilometres wide. The impact would have thrown trillions of tons of dust into the atmosphere, cooling the Earth's climate significantly, which may have been responsible for the mass extinction. A layer of iridium- rich rock, known as the K/T boundary, is thought to be the remnants of the impact debris.

Scientists have begun drilling for core samples, nearly 5,000 feet below the seabed, of a prehistoric crater caused by an asteroid collision that is linked to the extinction of dinosaurs.

Some scientists believe the asteroid, and perhaps other factors, may have led to the end of dinosaurs. The theory that their demise 66 million years ago was linked to the asteroid impact was first proposed in 1980. The biggest piece of evidence is the 110-mile (180-km) crater near Chicxulub in Mexico.


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During the two-month expedition the international team of scientists will look for clues about how life recovered after the impact and whether the crater could have been a home for microbial life.

“The impact caused the extinction of some 75 percent of species that existed in that period,” said Dr Jaime Urrutia-Fucugauchi, of the Institute of Geophysics at the National Autonomous University of Mexico.

“It marks the transition of what colloquially, we know as the era of the dinosaurs to the era of the mammals.”