Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Scientist Finds Asteroid Fossil That May Have Caused Global Dinosaur Extinction

Date:
November 20, 1998
Source:
National Science Foundation
Summary:
The fossilized remnants of an asteroid that may have caused the global extinction of dinosaurs and other species more than 65 million years ago has been found by a National Science Foundation (NSF)funded researcher.

The fossilized remnants of an asteroid that may have causedthe global extinction of dinosaurs and other species more than 65million years ago has been found by a National Science Foundation(NSF) funded researcher.

Related Articles


Frank Kyte, a geochemist from University of California atLos Angeles (UCLA), presents his analysis of the fossil meteoritein the November 19 issue of the journal Nature.

Some scientists believe that this particular worldwideextinction, which ended the Cretaceous period 65 million yearsago, was caused by the destructive impact of a comet or asteroid.Kyte found the fossil meteorite while studying the sedimentboundary layer between the Cretaceous and Tertiary eras.

Hidden in mud and buried beneath the Pacific Ocean for 65million years, the fossil is no longer composed of all of itsoriginal minerals, yet has retained its original shape andtexture.

"The fossil is a record of the original rock," said RichardLane, program manager in NSF's earth sciences division, whichfunds Kyte's research, "much like fossilized traces of dinosaurskin, or, more appropriately, like casts made from the victims ofMt. Vesuvius at Pompeii whose imprints were preserved in thevolcanic ash."

According to Kyte, it is likely that the fossil depicts theremains of a colossal asteroid, some six miles wide, whichcollided with the earth near Mexico's Yucatan peninsula. Hisfindings suggest that the original meteorite had a rockycomposition that corresponds with the makeup of asteroids, asopposed to the porous materials that would more likely be foundin a comet.

Although the fossil itself is only a tenth of an inch long,Kyte was able to deduce its origins using instruments from UCLA'selectron microprobe and neutron activation laboratories. Theseinstruments, which can identify the chemical components of agiven substance, found the fossil to be high in iridium, anelement found in relative abundance in asteroid meteorites.

In our solar system, asteroids are found orbiting the sun ina belt between Mars and Jupiter. This rocky belt of space debrisis thought to be a leftover from the time when the planets firstformed.

Kyte notes that this particular asteroid moved out of thebelt towards Earth at about 40,000 miles per hour. The resultingimpact is thought to have had devastating consequences for theworld's climate and could have led to the extinction of thedinosaurs and many other forms of life.

"Studies like Kyte's show that celestial impacts have had aprofound effect on the history of the earth," said Lane. "Onebegins to think that such catastrophic events played at least asimportant a role in shaping the earth as did more gradualprocesses."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by National Science Foundation. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

National Science Foundation. "Scientist Finds Asteroid Fossil That May Have Caused Global Dinosaur Extinction." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 20 November 1998. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/11/981120080439.htm>.
National Science Foundation. (1998, November 20). Scientist Finds Asteroid Fossil That May Have Caused Global Dinosaur Extinction. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 26, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/11/981120080439.htm
National Science Foundation. "Scientist Finds Asteroid Fossil That May Have Caused Global Dinosaur Extinction." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/11/981120080439.htm (accessed January 26, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Space & Time News

Monday, January 26, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Water Fleas Prepare for Space Voyage

Water Fleas Prepare for Space Voyage

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Jan. 26, 2015) Scientists are preparing a group of water fleas for a unique voyage into space. The aquatic crustaceans, known as Daphnia, can be used as a miniature model for biomedical research, and their reproductive and swimming behaviour will be tested for signs of stress while on board the International Space Station. Jim Drury went to meet the team. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
NASA's On Course To Take Pluto's Best Photo Ever

NASA's On Course To Take Pluto's Best Photo Ever

Newsy (Jan. 25, 2015) NASA&apos;s New Horizons probe is en route to snap a picture of Pluto this summer, but making sure it doesn&apos;t miss its one chance to do so starts now. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Rosetta Captures Stunning Views, Diverse Data Of Comet 67P

Rosetta Captures Stunning Views, Diverse Data Of Comet 67P

Newsy (Jan. 23, 2015) The first images of the European Space Agency&apos;s Rosetta probe comet orbit could provide clues about its origin and how it got its unique shape. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
New Planets Could Be Lurking Far Beyond Neptune

New Planets Could Be Lurking Far Beyond Neptune

Newsy (Jan. 21, 2015) Scientists say planets located beyond Neptune could be altering the orbits of objects in the farthest reaches of our solar system. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins