Dinosaur-Killing Asteroid May Not Have Fueled Global Firestorm After All

asteroid heat pulse

Scientists have long believed that an asteroid impact in what is now Mexico wiped out 80 percent of all species on Earth–including the dinosaurs–about 65 million years ago.

But exactly what happened when that cataclysmic collision occurred, and why did it lead to the mass extinction? Those questions have been part of a complicated puzzle for scientists to piece together.

Previous research suggested that the asteroid triggered earthquakes, shock waves, intense heat, and choking clouds of dust that blocked out the sun and caused temperatures to plummet. In 2013, researchers hypothesized that the asteroid also sparked a global firestorm that played a role in causing the mass extinction.

Now a team of scientists in the U.K. have poked a big hole in the firestorm theory after conducting a series of simulations.

The scientists used a fire propagation apparatus to create pulses of heat using powerful halogen lamps. They exposed plant materials to pulses of different intensities and durations to simulate the effects of the impact both near the impact site and far away–and watched to see whether they ignited.

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The apparatus used to simulate the pulse of heat caused by the asteroid —> Read More Here


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