A new study found that an asteroid, which, according to a common hypothesis, crashed into Earth 66 million years ago and killed dinosaurs, also caused a massive tsunami, with waves in the Gulf of Mexico at a height of 1.5 km and halfway through the world.
Researchers have found evidence of this monumental tsunami following the analysis of kernels from more than 100 locations around the world and the creation of digital wave models following the impact of the asteroid on the Yucatan peninsula in Mexico.
"This tsunami was strong enough to disturb and destroy the sediments in ocean basins halfway around the world," explains the lead author of Molly Range's study, who modeled for a master's thesis at the Department of Earth and Environment Sciences, University of Michigan.
Based on previous studies, Molly Range's staff modelled an asteroid 14 km in diameter that crashed into Earth at a speed of 43,500 km/h. Many life forms died after the asteroid crash.
To learn more about the tsunami, scientists analysed the Earth ' s geology by successfully analysing 120 marine sediments that appeared immediately before or after the mass extinction at the end of the chalk period, which, according to experts, were consistent with the predictions of their patterns of altitude and wave movements.
Researchers found that the initial energy of the tsunami was 30,000 times greater than that released by the Indian Ocean earthquake in December 2004, which claimed more than 230,000 lives.
When the asteroid hit the Earth, it formed a crater with a width of 100 km and raised a dense cloud of dust and soot into the atmosphere. Just two and a half minutes after the impact of the curtain, it pushed the wall of water out, creating a 4.5 km wave for a short time.
At the 10th minute, a tsunami wave of 1.5 km high, about 220 km from the point of impact, rolled across the Gulf in all directions. An hour later, the water wall left the Gulf of Mexico and headed for the North Atlantic. Four hours after the tsunami hit, the Central American sea route, a passage that at that time separated North and South America, into the Pacific Ocean.
The day after the impact on the asteroid, the waves passed through most of the Pacific and Atlantic oceans, entered the Indian Ocean on both sides and touched most of the world's coastline 48 hours after the asteroid crash.