Chicxulub collision put Earth’s crust in hot water for over a million years

Monday, June 1, 2020 - 12:00 in Earth & Climate

The asteroid that slammed into Earth 66 million years ago left behind more than a legacy of mass destruction. That impact also sent superheated seawater swirling through the crust below for more than a million years, chemically overhauling the rocks. Similar transformative hydrothermal systems, left in the wake of powerful impacts much earlier in Earth’s history, may have been a crucible for early microbial life on Earth, researchers report May 29 in Science Advances. The massive Chicxulub crater on Mexico’s Yucatán peninsula is the fingerprint of a killer, probably responsible for the destruction of more than 75 percent of life on Earth, including all nonbird dinosaurs (SN: 1/25/17). In 2016, a team of scientists made a historic trek to the partially submerged crater, drilling deep into the rock to study the crime scene from numerous angles. One of those researchers was planetary scientist David Kring of the Lunar and Planetary Institute in Houston. A dozen years earlier, Kring had found evidence...

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