Plot Twist: The Dinosaur-Killing Asteroid Didn’t Come Alone
About 66 million years ago, a 10-km-wide object from space hit the Earth and initiated the fifth mass extinction event. From causing wildfires that raged across the continents to triggering tsunamis, the impact wiped out nearly 75% of life on the planet and specifically led to the extinction of non-avian dinosaurs. In addition, the impactor left behind a vast, 180-km-wide crater known as the Chicxulub crater underneath the Yucatán Peninsula in today’s Mexico.
So far, scientists have believed that there was a single massive chunk of rock that triggered the extinction event. But now, in a ground-breaking discovery, they have found evidence that the Chicxulub impactor didn’t come alone. Instead, it had a companion whose impact created the newly discovered Nadir Crater.
So how did scientists discover this crater? How do they know its impactor contributed to the extinction of the dinosaurs? Finally, and most importantly, how many more such craters from that period lay undiscovered?
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