We humans should consider ourselves lucky for not having a devastating asteroid around during those approximately 200,000 years of evolution of our species. About 66 million years ago, when immense and imposing creatures roamed the Earth, a huge asteroid ruined their party forever.
The outcome was the Chicxulub crater of 25,450 km² buried beneath the Yucatan Peninsula from Mexico. The collision released so much dust and ashes into the atmosphere that they blocked the sunlight for hundreds of years. Without sunlight, plants died and therefore so did the remaining dinosaurs because of the lack of oxygen.
The asteroid hit at the deadliest possible angle
Simulations made via a supercomputer recreated the cataclysmic event that wiped out the dinosaurs, and thus the researchers concluded that the collision happened at an angle of about 60 degrees. This means the worst-case scenario for the poor dinosaurs.
Gareth Collins, who is lead researcher, confirmed it by saying:
“For the dinosaurs, the worst-case scenario is exactly what happened. The asteroid strike unleashed an incredible amount of climate-changing gases into the atmosphere, triggering a chain of events that led to the extinction of the dinosaurs. This was likely worsened by the fact that it struck at one of the deadliest possible angles,”
The apocalyptic event triggered a nuclear winter by blocking the sunlight, killing 75 percent of all life forms present on Earth at that time, along with all the dinosaurs that survived the collision and its first side effects.
Some scientists even believe that the collision with the ‘global-killer’ asteroid was as powerful as 10 billion atomic bombs like the one thrown by the Americans in Hiroshima during WWII. The two bombings from Hiroshima and Nagasaki killed between 129,000 and 226,000 people, and most of them were civilians. Those bombings remain in history as the only uses of nuclear weapons in armed conflict.
The results of the study regarding the computer simulations of the ‘dinosaurs exterminator’ asteroid were published in Nature Communications.