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Canadian Aeronautics and Space Institute

Institut aƩronautique et spatial du Canada

Asteroid Dust Found in Crater Closes Case of Dinosaur Extinction

February 25, 2021 08:36 | April Duffy (Administrator)

Researchers believe they have closed the case of what killed the dinosaurs, definitively linking their extinction with an asteroid that slammed into Earth 66 million years ago by finding a key piece of evidence: asteroid dust inside the impact crater.

Death by asteroid rather than by a series of volcanic eruptions or some other global calamity has been the leading hypothesis since the 1980s, when scientists found asteroid dust in the geologic layer that marks the extinction of the dinosaurs. This discovery painted an apocalyptic picture of dust from the vaporized asteroid and rocks from impact circling the planet, blocking out the sun and bringing about mass death through a dark, sustained global winter - all before drifting back to Earth to form the layer enriched in asteroid material that's visible today.

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