You may be aware of the fact that almost all the dinosaurs and about 3/4 of the planet’s animal and plant species were killed about 66 million years ago during a mass extinction event.
This is associated with the impact that the Chicxulub asteroid which hit near the location where Merida, Mexico is today.
Recent research has found that there’s a global increase in mercury and also warming before the extinction event.
The asteroid’s impact marked a new geologic time period
The asteroid impact has been pretty significant, at least, as you already know, powerful enough to mark the new geologic time period.
Forbes notes that “The Cretaceous–Paleogene (K–Pg) extinction event led to the extinction of three-quarters of plant and animal species on Earth.”
The impact of the space rock caused an “impact winter,” which means that there were enough dust and particles that are thrown into the atmosphere. More than that, photosynthesis is extremely diminished.
The same online publication mentioned above also noted that the near halting of the process of photosynthesis and the quick acidification of the oceans were some pretty important factors that led to the massive extinction.
It’s been also revealed that this global increase is associated with the massive volcanic eruptions of the Deccan Traps in Western India.
The scale of the eruption was huge
It’s been also revealed that the size of the eruption is pretty hard to understand.
Forbes writes that “The eruption covered 200,000 square miles with lava over a mile thick (6,600 feet). That’s larger than the state of California covered in over a mile thick of lava.”
It’s been explained that this eruption began before the impact of the asteroid, and “with the use of geochemical isotopic analysis on mollusk shells from around the world scientists have pinpointed the eruptions to a global increase in mercury and warming from the release of carbon dioxide,” Forbes noted.
The mind-blowing thing is that the mercury levels from back then – 66 million years ago – are the same ones today in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley.