Tags: chicxulub | crater | doom | life

Chicxulub, the Crater of Doom: Could It Also Hold Signs of Life?

Image: Chicxulub, the Crater of Doom: Could It Also Hold Signs of Life?

An International Ocean Discovery vessel. (Twitter‏@AGU_Eos)

By    |   Wednesday, 11 May 2016 05:58 AM

The Chicxulub crater, created from an asteroid that probably doomed the dinosaurs and three quarters of everything else 66 million years ago, is being explored by researchers from a platform off the Gulf of Mexico to see if any signs of life remain there.

Scientists have found what they believe to be the granite bedrock that was actually impacted from the asteroid that killed as much as 75 percent of life on Earth, according to Science magazine. They discovered the rocks 2,200 feet under the sea floor off Yucatan Peninsula coast.

"We're feeling pretty good," said Sean Gulick, the co-chief scientist of the expedition from the University of Texas sponsored by the International Ocean Discovery Program. "I'm not getting much sleep out here, so we’re little delirious."

Scientists believe an asteroid about the size of Staten Island in New York crashed into the Earth, creating the Chicxulub crater, which is about 125 miles across, said National Public Radio. They theorized that the sulfur, ash, and debris from the impact would have caused a winter and left the entire planet dark for months.

Gulick told NPR that researchers hope the discovered bedrock holds clues of the microscopic organisms that survived the blast. The core of the rocks found in the drilling will get a closer examination in a Germany laboratory next month, he said.

"The mammals survived," Joanna Morgan, of the Imperial College of London and another co-chief scientist of the expedition, told NPR. "And that led on to our own evolution."

Scientists believe the rock they found is from the "peak ring" of the crater, the circular ridge inside the crater rim that can be seen from asteroid impacts on moon, Mars, and Mercury, said Science magazine.

The researchers told Science they are trying to determine if the crater thought to have ended most of the planets life was also the first place life returned in forms of microbial life.

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The Chicxulub crater, created from an asteroid that probably doomed the dinosaurs and three quarters of everything else 66 million years ago, is being explored by researchers from a platform off the Gulf of Mexico to see if any signs of life remain there.
chicxulub, crater, doom, life
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2016-58-11
Wednesday, 11 May 2016 05:58 AM
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