Ancient asteroid collision put Earth in the freezer

From AGU: Dinosaur-killing asteroid impact may have cooled Earth’s climate more than previously thought
WASHINGTON D.C. — The Chicxulub asteroid impact that wiped out the dinosaurs likely released far more climate-altering sulfur gas into the atmosphere than originally thought, according to new research.
A new study makes a more refined estimate of how much sulfur and carbon dioxide gas were ejected into Earth’s atmosphere from vaporized rocks immediately after the Chicxulub event. The study’s authors estimate more than three times as much sulfur may have entered the air compared to what previous models assumed, implying the ensuing period of cool weather may have been colder than previously thought.
The new study lends support to the hypothesis that the impact played a significant role in the Cretaceous-Paleogene extinction event that eradicated nearly three-quarters of Earth’s plant and animal species, according to Joanna Morgan, a geophysicist at Imperial College London in the United Kingdom and co-author of the new study published in Geophysical Research Letters, a journal of the American Geophysical Union.
“Many climate models can’t currently capture all of the consequences of the Chicxulub impact due to uncertainty in how much gas was initially released,” Morgan said. “We wanted to revisit this significant event and refine our collision model to better capture its immediate effects on the atmosphere.”
The new findings could ultimately help scientists better understand how Earth’s climate radically changed in the aftermath of the asteroid collision, according to Georg Feulner, a climate scientist at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Potsdam, Germany who was not involved with the new research. The research could help give new insights into how Earth’s climate and ecosystem can significantly change due to impact events, he said.
“The key finding of the study is that they get a larger amount of sulfur and a smaller amount of carbon dioxide ejected than in other studies,” he said. “These improved estimates have big implications for the climactic consequences of the impact, which could have been even more dramatic than what previous studies have found.”
A titanic collision            
The Chicxulub impact occurred 66 million years ago when an asteroid approximately 12 kilometers (7 miles) wide slammed into Earth. The collision took place near what is now the Yucatán peninsula in the Gulf of Mexico. The asteroid is often cited as a potential cause of the Cretaceous-Paleogene extinction event, a mass extinction that erased up to 75 percent of all plant and animal species, including the dinosaurs.
The asteroid collision had global consequences because it threw massive amounts of dust, sulfur and carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. The dust and sulfur formed a cloud that reflected sunlight and dramatically reduced Earth’s temperature. Based on earlier estimates of the amount of sulfur and carbon dioxide released by the impact, a recent study published in Geophysical Research Letters showed Earth’s average surface air temperature may have dropped by as much as 26 degrees Celsius (47 degrees Fahrenheit) and that sub-freezing temperatures persisted for at least three years after the impact.
In the new research, the authors used a computer code that simulates the pressure of the shock waves created by the impact to estimate the amounts of gases released in different impact scenarios. They changed variables such as the angle of the impact and the composition of the vaporized rocks to reduce the uncertainty of their calculations.
The new results show the impact likely released approximately 325 gigatons of sulfur and 425 gigatons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, more than 10 times global human emissions of carbon dioxide in 2014. In contrast, the previous study in Geophysical Research Letters that modeled Earth’s climate after the collision had assumed 100 gigatons of sulfur and 1,400 gigatons of carbon dioxide were ejected as a result of the impact.
Improving the impact model
The new study’s methods stand out because they ensured only gases that were ejected upwards with a minimum velocity of 1 kilometer per second (2,200 miles per hour) were included in the calculations. Gases ejected at slower speeds didn’t reach a high enough altitude to stay in the atmosphere and influence the climate, according to Natalia Artemieva, a senior scientist at the Planetary Science Institute in Tucson, Arizona and co-author of the new study.
Older models of the impact didn’t have as much computing power and were forced to assume all the ejected gas entered the atmosphere, limiting their accuracy, Artemieva said.
The study authors also based their model on updated estimates of the impact’s angle. An older study assumed the asteroid hit the surface at an angle of 90 degrees, but newer research shows the asteroid hit at an angle of approximately 60 degrees. Using this revised angle of impact led to a larger amount of sulfur being ejected into the atmosphere, Morgan said.
The study’s authors did not model how much cooler Earth would have been as a result of their revised estimates of how much gas was ejected. Judging from the cooling seen in the previous study, which assumed a smaller amount of sulfur was released by the impact, the release of so much sulfur gas likely played a key role in the extinction event.  The sulfur gas would have blocked out a significant amount of sunlight, likely leading to years of extremely cold weather potentially colder than the previous study found. The lack of sunlight and changes in ocean circulation would have devastated Earth’s plant life and marine biosphere, according to Feulner.
The release of carbon dioxide likely led to some long-term climate warming, but its influence was minor compared to the cooling effect of the sulfur cloud, Feulner said.
Along with gaining a better understand of the Chicxulub impact, researchers can also use the new study’s methods to estimate the amount of gas released during other large impacts in Earth’s history. For example, the authors calculated the Ries crater located in Bavaria, Germany was formed by an impact that ejected 1.3 gigatons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. This amount of gas likely had little effect on Earth’s climate, but the idea could be applied to help understand the climactic effects of larger impacts.
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This research article is open access for 30 days. A PDF copy of the article can be downloaded at the following link:http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/2017GL074879/pdf.
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94 thoughts on “Ancient asteroid collision put Earth in the freezer

  1. Wouldn’t you want to look for evidence (of sulfur in the rocks of that age, perhaps) in order to support your findings? …or are mathematical calculations all that one needs to get geology papers published these days?

      • The impact site was mostly gypsum (CaSO4). This is well known. What is apparently different, is the modelling to simulate the ejecta.

      • Not all models are useless.
        Automatically rejecting all uses of models is as idiotic as anything the global warming cabal does.

      • ya we need a real experiment of an asteroid slamming into the earth.
        go get one and do that test.
        Because thats the Only way you can know that asteroids will really cause damage.

        experiment or you have no knowledge whatsoever

      • “Les Johnson October 31, 2017 at 2:44 pm
        The impact site was mostly gypsum (CaSO4). This is well known. What is apparently different, is the modelling to simulate the ejecta. ”

        Beware the well known.

        CaSO4 may have been present, but substrate analyses do not mention it.

        “Clay particles that occur within the spheroid-rich bed and are dispersed throughout the diamictite matrix were interpreted as altered glass shards (Ocampo et al. 1996). They are mostly smectites (rarely palagonite) and sometimes display vesicles and spherulitic devitrification structures (cf. Pope et al. 1999).
        However, smectites derived from limestone dissolution are present within the karstified subsurface, became incorporated the basal ejecta blanket, and are difficult to distinguish from altered melt particles based on XRD and XRF analyses (Schönian et al. 2004, unpublished data; cf. Isphording 1984).
        Therefore, the actual amount of impact melt within the distal Chicxulub ejecta blanket cannot yet be determined to a satisfactory degree.

        Much of the ejecta blanket material is eroded from the local bedrock and associated karst lithologies Schönian et al. 2003, 2005). Karst features such as travertine, speleothemes, carbonate nodules, and black limestones do occur as clasts within the ejecta blanket. Unconsolidated white chalk and residual clays which can be found as dolina infills in the Upper Cretaceous rocks become successively incorporated within the ejecta blanket with radial distance (Schönian et al. 2003, 2004; cf. Esteban and Klappa 1983). To draw
        conclusions about the processes that acted during ejecta emplacement, this study focuses on internal structures and sedimentary characteristics of the ejecta blanket.”

    • What would happen if there was lots of atmospheric CO2 and the plants all got more and bigger and reach a tipping point whereby there was suddenly not enough CO2 as it was mostly “eaten” and sequestered? What would die and in what order? How fast would it happen? The plants would suddenly take a hit, then the animals that eat the plants, then the animals that eat the animals that eat the plants. Most of the fish would be ok. Sounds like what happened.

      • Right now plant life is absorbing over 200GTC per year so I consider what would happen when that stops or is severely slowed down. E.G. Sun gets blotted out by dust – photosynthesis nearly stops (land and ocean) – CO2 uptake almost stops – animals still respirating – CO2 skyrockets.

        How do we know that continuing respiration from persistent animal life after the plant life was severely affected wasn’t the major reason for a rapid increase of CO2 within a few years of impact? I would suspect that most of the animal respiration, roughly half the total CO2 emission, from mostly soil microbes would continue for a few years living on dead plant material even with acid rain and lower temperatures. I would also suspect that the timing would be too short to resolve from geologic data so is there some other tell-tale factor to look at to confirm or dismiss the possibility?

  2. It’s amazing – they understand that sulphur cooled the atmosphere in the distant past, but seem totally oblivious to the effect of sulphur in the atmosphere that was removed by the clean air acts.

    To put this in context; 1970s we had global cooling scare.
    From 1970 -2000 we saw a dramatic drop in sulphur and other pollutants and a modest rise in global temperature.
    From 2000 there has been no significant drop – and guess what there’s been no significant rise in temperature.

    It’s amazing how sulphur was so potent in the distant past as to cause the extinction of the dinosaurs – but removing it in the 1970s had no effect “WHATSOEVER” on the modern climate.

      • wow, just wow. so much wrong with that. for instance, and this is just one, he said the other planets all have a perpendicular rotation. This is not so. There is a lot more wrong, but well, I just feel like point out one.

        Put simply, no, Elmer, you are very wrong. If you wish, I will respond in detail with links. I will have time for that later, and I did enjoy your theory.

      • At 23º we are tilted more than any other planet in our Solar System. This theory also explains things like why there is tropical vegetation found under the ice in Antarctica and why there are Pyramid type structures at the bottom of the ocean.

        [???? .mod]

      • Uranus is tilted at 98degrees. Pluto (assuming a dwarf planet is still a type of planet) is tilted at 119 degrees. The outer system was a violent place towards the end of planet formation. Cheers –

      • Uranus is tilted about 90 degrees.

        The reason why the Bible doesn’t mention the rest of the world is because it was written by and for a people who lived in the middle east. The Bible also doesn’t mention India or any parts of Europe that don’t border the Mediterranean.

        The tropical fossils found on Antarctica are 10’s to 100’s of millions of years old.

        The so called pyramidal structures on the bottom of the ocean have been proven to be natural in origin.

        Finally, had the earth been hit hard enough to rotate the axis as much as your source postulates, the energy would have been enough to melt the entire surface of the planet. It would still be cooling to this day.

        Try a little real science.

      • The New Testament surely mentions Greeks and Romans. In fact, it’s written in Greek. Didn’t watch the video, so dunno if the craziness applies only to the OT.

        For that matter Philistines came from Europe as the Sea Peoples of Egyptian history. Their language was Indo-European.

      • “Elmer October 31, 2017 at 10:32 am
        At 23º we are tilted more than any other planet in our Solar System. This theory also explains things like why there is tropical vegetation found under the ice in Antarctica and why there are Pyramid type structures at the bottom of the ocean.”

        Another couch explorer?

        As others have pointed out, many planets do not rotate vertically to the plane of our solar system.

        Don’t overlook that Venus rotates backwards.

        As MarkW points out, the alleged pyramids near Japan proven to be natural formations, repeatedly.

        Antarctica, like all of Earth’s continents is moved about and has arrived at the South Polar position relatively recently. As proven by fossils found at Antarctica.

      • Of course, in geology, “recent” is relative, but Antarctica has been at high southern latitudes for a long time, although not always over the South Pole.

        Before that, during the Phanerozoic, it spent most of its time at southern mid-latitudes, although briefly poked partially north of the equator during the Ordovician. It just kissed the equator in the Cambrian, with its attached promontory of Australia north of it.

        The reason that there are so many fossils on Antarctica isn’t that it was all that much farther north in the past, but that climate was so equable during the Mesozoic and early Cenozoic that lots of plants and animals lived there because it was free of ice sheets, despite its polar latitudes.

      • Just for additional perspective,

        Here is where the asteroid hit at 65 million years ago and what the continental alignments were at the time. Most likely, a shallow ocean at the time partially on the continental shelf and partially in the Gulf of Mexico which was already a deep ocean area at this time. I imagine these researchers took that into account but climate researchers are notorious for being lax of course.

        The antipodal site was in the deep ocean somewhat north of where Australia was at the time and somewhat west of where Australia is today for those that bring up the Deccan Traps volcanoes (5000 kms away at the time). re: The anti-podal site was over-ridden by Australia about 30 million years ago so there is no evidence of what happened at the antipodal site.

        https://qph.ec.quoracdn.net/main-qimg-f1307401f86f4f4c102984ba0e1a6d53-c

      • ATheoK October 31, 2017 at 6:35 pm

        Except for that brief partial excursion north of the equator in the Ordovician, Antarctica has spent the whole Phanerozoic Eon in the Southern Hemisphere. In the first half of the Paleaozoic Era it migrated southward, then, as Pangaea assembled, stayed in high latitudes from the Late Carboniferous, through the Mesozoic and Cenozoic Eras to now.

        However in the Precambrian, it moved around quite a bit in the Northern Hemisphere, as you’ve shown.

    • This is how someone with limited knowledge is worked into something that looks possible to them because they think they have vast knowledge.

      • So what defines “North”. I thought that ‘north’ is a human earthling concept designed for navigational purposes and related to the earths’ magnetic field. I didn’t know that the universe has a North, South, East and West, but then I don’t know much.

      • Rob,

        Venus’ rotation is retrograde, putting Ishtar Terra, one of the two highland regions on the planet, in its northern hemisphere. This makes the axial tilt 2.64°. But following the right-hand rule for prograde rotation puts Ishtar Terra in the southern hemisphere, making the axial tilt to orbit 177.36°.

    • MarkW

      Yonaguni? No they haven’t.

      The narrative in archeology for ancient man is as corrupted as the narrative with CAGW. It took years for Gobleki Tepe to be recognized. The Serbian Pyramids “just cannot be true”. There’s still denial Neanderthal was sea-faring hundred of thousands of years ago. Just about all ancient shorelines (before the interglacial) have sunken cities. Put the Great Pyramids of Giza underwater for thousands of years and you’ll have archeaologists deny they were built by man using the same “reasoning” as for the Yonaguni site. ANYTHING that challenges the Fertile Crescent being the ‘start of civilization’ is derided or blocked out from being published.

      There’s still resistance to acceptance of the Amazonian terra preta being man made. I could go on and on.

      I haven’t watched the video yet, so can’t comment on anything else discussed here, but to make such a bold claim “repeatedly proven”, nuh uh.

      • Just because other people don’t buy into the nonsense you are preaching is not evidence that you are right.
        And yes, it has been repeatedly proven. Just because you don’t want to believe doesn’t prove otherwise.

      • Let’s just say I like thinking outside the box.

        I think Pangaea is a further stretch than saying that the earth was hit by a giant ice meteor that titled it on its axis. If you were to drain all the oceans you would see that the Continents are all connected by land. The fact that the parts that are currently above water seem to fit together visually on the Atlantic side is for the same reason that both banks of a river seem to fit together.

        Yes, it would have to have been a very large meteor to tilt the earth and it would have left quite a crater, my guess is the Pacific Ocean is the crater. This would explain all the Volcanic activity around the Pacific’s perimeter also known as the ‘Ring of Fire”. Whatever hit and tilted the earth could have also hit Mars and Saturn as well.

        My theory explains why there are Pyramids all over the world and why they were or are still covered with many feet of sediment or at the bottom of the ocean and why the Easter Island statues were buried up to their necks when first discovered.

        It could explains why Magnetic North is different than True North and why Magnetic North is moving closer to True north every year. My theory is the Earth’s Magnetic Field is aligned with the earth’s inner core which has been rotating on the earth’s old axis for thousands of years but through friction it is slowly aligning with the earth’s new “true” axis.

        Here is a partial list of other things my theory could explain:
        – Tropical Vegetation at the Poles
        – Frozen Woolly Mammoths
        – Dinosaurs Extinction
        – Rich Dinosaur Fossil Record
        – Why most Dinosaur “fossils” are still bone with DNA
        – Why there are marine fossils all over the planet including Mount Everest
        – Grand Canyon
        – Disappearance of the Pyramid Builders
        – Ancient Mayan 240 Day Calendar
        – Lost Civilization of Atlantis

        Here are some reference videos.
        Is Genesis History?
        https://www.netflix.com/watch/80186671
        Dinosaurs: The Hunt For Life
        https://www.netflix.com/watch/80136544
        Secrets of the Egyptian Pyramids

        Old Equator part starts here

        Now that Global Warming has been debunked it’s time to debunk Evolution.

    • Excellent hypothesis. But have you attempted to integrate it with that developed by the author of “Earth in Upheaval” , “Ages in Chaos”, and “Mankind in Amnesia”. That author’s name cannot be mentioned here, because its appearance triggers and automatic erasure of the post containing it.

      However, these three works of his constitute a three-pronged synthesis of past prehistoric global catastrophes from the perspective of the geological record, the cultural record, and the ensuing suspension of reason and logic by scientists, particularly earth scientists suffering, like their lay audiences, from a millenia-long traumatisation, that had them reporting glaciers moving rocks uphill and other absurdities, to avoid at all costs the consideration of sudden cataclysmic events that might threaten civilization.

      [Never ascribe to malice that which can be explained by an overactive IP blacklist filter. Found your post and rescued it. Thank you for your comments. -mod]

      • Thanks for your help.

        My comments did not express any moral judgment, they only described the situation as it has previously been explained to me by moderator(s) here – that a filter has been set to automatically erase posts in which certain names and words appear. I have suggested this list should be made available to all users, so as to save everyone a lot of trouble and frustration, and more importantly, to show the editorial bias of this forum – a bias that, in my experience, is quite incompatible with the spirit of scientific inquiry and debate.

        I reiterate this suggestion now, and would add that an archive should be kept where the public can view the posts that have been removed. At the very least, there should be some attempt by the moderation to justify the refusal of this request.

        [Never erased. Merely out in the queue for review. Yes, all 2.194 million comments get read and screened. .mod]

    • Excellent hypothesis. But much of this and much more was published in the 1950s by an author whose name and/or published works cannot be mentioned here, because its appearance triggers and automatic erasure of the post containing it.
      These works of his constitute a three-pronged synthesis of past prehistoric global catastrophes from the perspective of the geological record, the cultural record, and the ensuing suspension of reason and logic by scientists, particularly earth scientists suffering, like their lay audiences, from a millenia-long traumatisation, that had them reporting glaciers moving rocks uphill and other absurdities, to avoid at all cost the consideration of sudden cataclysmic events that might threaten civilization.

      I’d like to see you integrate your hypothesis with his work, which, while less precise, is much larger in scope.

      PS. A previous post here was instantly erased, presumably for mention of the titles of his books. Hopefully this one will get through. I wish you better luck than he had.

    • my already self-censored posts have twice now been instantly removed. Kudos and good luck. Maybe this will get through. But I fear only negative reviews of your hypothesis are being published.

  3. Notice at the end they still have to mention CO2 and its “likely” warming effect…
    “The release of carbon dioxide likely led to some long-term climate warming, but its influence was minor compared to the cooling effect of the sulfur cloud, Feulner said.”

    • It’s not that much CO2. 10 times the amount the amount emitted by man in 2014. That’s only enough to increase total CO2 levels by about 10 to 20 ppm.
      Back then normal levels were over 1000ppm.

    • I realised not long ago and CO2 and SO2 have very similar chemical characteristics and both dissolve readily in water to form acids.

      And then I realised that in the same way SO2 could help form cloud nucleation, that CO2 could potentially have the same (but much weaker) effect.

      And that rising CO2 could potentially cool the earth in the same that SO2 cools it.

      Wouldn’t that be ironic!

      • It could do both like water does, but like water, the net effect is to warm. However, the net warming from water is far less than generally considered.

        Water vapor is a strong GHG and contributes to making the surface warmer than it would be otherwise.
        Water vapor results in clouds which reflect solar energy making the surface cooler. The water in clouds also absorbs all wavelengths emitted by the surface which re-radiates some (about half) back to the surface, again making the surface warmer than it would be otherwise. Water also turns into ice and snow which reflects energy and cools the surface.

        With all these complicated effects, the question is whether the net effect of water is to warm or cool. To establish this, start from a baseline without water or other GHG’s. The albedo is reduced to about 0.11 (the same as the Moon), the average incident energy is about 304 W/m^2 corresponding to an average surface temperature of about 271K.

        Clearly, water combined with the other GHG’s both warms and cools the surface. The cooling reduces 271K down to 255K and the warming brings 255K up to the current average of about 288K. Clearly, the warming is larger than the cooling, but the net is not the 33C claimed (288-255), but only 17C (288-271) since you can not get the 33C of warming without the 17C of cooling resulting in only 16C of net warming. It turns out that most of the net warming is not from water, but about 10-11C of this warming is from other GHG’s and only about 5-6C of the net warming occurs as the result of water.

        The IPCC obfuscates the cooling effects of water by considering forcing to be equivalent to incoming solar energy AFTER reflection by albedo and thus conceals the cooling effects of reflection. They also conflate the warming from clouds with the warming from GHG’s in order to make GHG’s seem more important than they are and to provide the wiggle room for the insignificant enhancement of warming by increased water vapor arising from increased temperatures.

      • And this even applies to papers that have nothing to do with the climate. If your paper unambiguously proves that CO2 [is] so far from evil [that] it’s beneficial, whether you get published or not, you can count on getting relentlessly pilloried.

        Science is clearly broken when the principle defense used by the ‘consensus’ in support of the IPCC’s agenda is to banish the scientific truth by crucifying the truth seeker.

  4. Since we know where it hit, wouldn’t we already have a pretty good idea of what the terrestrial rocks were composed of?

  5. …. the cooling mechanism has nothing to do with SO2, its different …
    …otherwise there would be a geological “black mat – layer” with SO4
    in the rock, stemming from the impact plume fallout for this date…..
    They attribute the cooling onto SO2 without looking for an necessary
    impact dust-SO4-rich black mat intercalation in the rock. Therefore: Shady
    “science”, as usual by modelers and simulants… As soon as I hear
    “modeling”, I get entirely turned off. JS

  6. Computer simulations are a form of make believe and their results do not make an explanation more likely. Many computer simulations beg the question and their results are quite useless. I for one believe that large objects striking the earth at high velocities could have adverse effects. To date no one is taking any effective action to prevent large objects from striking the Earth in the future.

  7. There seems to be quite a range in the estimated size of the KT impactor, and what it was (comet or asteroid). Obviously this is for the very good reason that there were no human eye-witnesses and we are picking over difficult evidence. Since even a difference of a kilometer in size and a composition of stone or iron as against ice and fragments would make a dramatic difference to the kinetic energy released, it leaves a lot of room for working out what may or may not have happened. At least this study doesn’t just bandwagon CO2 as the major culprit.

    Come to think of it I don’t recall the Bible fingering CO2 as the culprit for anything in particular. Obviously an oversight.

    • The velocity of the impactor makes a big difference as well. A comet would likely be travelling a lot faster than an asteroid.

    • Come to think of it I don’t recall the Bible fingering CO2 as the culprit for anything in particular. Obviously an oversight.

      Yeah, Laudato Si may join Summis desiderantes affectibus and Index Librorum Prohibitorum

  8. They have made a really major blooper in this paper, from p. 6:

    “The remaining shocked materials are either ejected with lower velocity and, hence, stay in the crater vicinity (both CO2 and SOx are heavier than atmospheric gases)”

    So any CO2 not ejected at above 1000 m/s stays around indefinitely where it was produced? It’s not a “well-mixed” atmospheric gas anymore?

  9. The article makes a number of assumptions that are superficially reasonable, but not realistically confirmable. I suppose that we can be pretty certain that: the Earth’s size then was similar to its current size; the Earth’s gravity then was similar to its current gravity; the Earth’s atmospheric composition, depth and density were similar to current values; the Sun shone and bestowed energy in a similar fashion to its present behaviour; etc., etc.

    This list of assumption is meant to be neither exhaustive nor absolutely correct. It is merely illustrative. But it should expose a key weakness of this type of modelling. The more assumptions, however reasonable, that one needs to make, the greater the likelihood that one (or more) is wrong. The model is thereby invalidated, but we have no practical means of accurately determining the likelihood of this being the case.

    As speculation, this is interesting. As Science, it doesn’t stack up.

    Incidentally, what would have happened to the gases that were ejected upward at a mere 950m/s?

    • The assumption about the atmosphere is the only one that is probably wrong. There was certainly more CO2 in the atmosphere, and probably more O2 as well. This means that the tropopause may have been slightly higher than now.

      • The amount of atmosphere above 130 km:diameter:
        13273.217 square km.
        Mass of air above 1 square meter is 10 tons, amount air above 1 square km is 10 million kg. 13273.217 times 10 is 132732.17 million kg or 1.3 x 10^11 kg.

        And 12 km diameter rock is 9.05×10^14 kg times density- say 2, which heating and accelerating
        a 130 km diameter area of rock and turning into crater.
        So like very big nuclear bomb exploding underground and leaving 130 km crater.
        And blasted is going to be conical [bigger diameter than 130 km] and any stuff mostly going straight up are going to have fastest velocity. So stuff mostly going straight up can get escape velocity, but most of mass will be suborbital and large amount it will be incinerated going thru atmosphere and any which is not incinerated will be incinerated re-entering the atmosphere [unless it’s not accelerated at a high suborbital velocity].

        Anyway it seems all the dust [which was rock] that settled all across the world is more significant than CO2 or sulfur.

      • The velocity vectors of the ejecta depend quite a bit on the angle of impact.
        According to the article, the most recent science indicates that the impactor came in at 60%.
        As to atmospheric affects on the ejecta, the shock wave will pretty much eliminate the atmosphere above the impact site, so it won’t be there to slow down the outgoing ejecta.

  10. I understand the concepts of impacts and ejecta etc. But I have never seen ANY plausible theory about where all this sulfur is supposed to have come from? Is there a basis for assuming the asteroid (or whatever it was) was made largely of sulfur? Are there any reasons to believe that the earth “N of the Yucatan” contained contained any unusual amounts of sulfur? And any sulfur tied up chemically in minerals is not as likely to be as available to cause disruption of the atmosphere.
    Just wondering!

  11. “but newer research shows the asteroid hit at an angle of approximately 60 degrees.”

    It’s odd that they link to the earlier research, but fail to link to “newer” research.

    Normally, meteorites hitting at oblique angles form ellipsoid craters.
    Chicxulub Crater Looks quite round.

    Or perhaps this image:

    Without an oblique crater, one suspects the model required a steeper angle to achieve their desired results.

    • Actually only very oblique impacts form ellipsoid craters. Take a look at the Moon. Almost every crater is circular.

      • tty:
        Shame on you. You know better than to assume proof.

        My understanding is that the researcher firing steel balls into sand demonstrates ellipsoid craters fairly close to 90°. At 30° off vertical that is quite angular.

        Nor would one expect circular deep impact rings from angular hits. Force vectors don’t suddenly change to right angles

        When someone observes vertical and oblique substantial meteor strikes on the moon and their resulting craters, let me know.

      • ATheok,

        The violence of the impact is hard to imagine. It penetrated Earth’s crust, vaporizing the gypsum of the seafloor. It brought pink granite from deep in the Earth to the surface. Any obliquity would be totally lost in such an energetic cataclysm.

        Hitting water and rock with a hard, massive projectile six to nine miles in diameter going 30 to 45 times the speed of sound at sea level is different from shooting steel balls at sand.

      • The Meteor Crater debris (found deep inside the wall of one side of the crater) shows even a very shallow (10-20 degree angle from the ground) impact creates a near-circular impact crater, but pushes up the wall on the side away from the trajectory. The “splatter” of debris from a low-angle impact crater up north is a long-running theory behind the origin of the southeast’s shallow craters across South Carolina, GA, and NC. There are problems with the theory, but it has many supporters. And as many, if not more, detractors.

      • Rather hard to fire bullets at 10-30 km/s. And doesn’t it strike you as rather unlikely that meteors would always strike the surface of the Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars et seq.. at right angles?

        In a very high velocity impact the crater is largely formed by the shock wave from the vaporization of most of the impactor (and a lot of local rock). This spreads radially and overwhelms the rather small sideways component due to an oblique impact except at quite low angles.

  12. Don’t we have independent evidence of how much the Earth cooled after the Chixculub impact? Shouldn’t the response to discovering that more sulfur was released than previously thought lead to the conclusion that the impact of sulfur on the climate is smaller (rather than that the Earth cooled more)? When you get new data, you change your model, not your previous data.

    • The cooling after Chixculub would only have lasted a few decades. Most of the proxies for that time period have resolutions of centuries to millennia. I doubt any of them would show how much cooling there was.

  13. (Great googlie mooglies – meant to post this question on its own – not a reply to Geoff above!)

    Right now plant life is absorbing over 200GTC per year so I consider what would happen if photosynthesis is suddenly and severely slowed down. E.G. Sun gets blotted out by dust – photosynthesis nearly stops (land and ocean) – CO2 uptake severely reduced – but animals keep respirating – CO2 skyrockets.

    How do we know that continuing respiration from persistent animal life after the plant life was severely diminished wasn’t the major reason for a rapid increase of CO2 within a few years of impact? (or other major event that reduces sunlight like massive volcanism)

    I would suspect that most of the animal respiration, roughly half the total CO2 emission, from mostly soil and marine microbes / animal life would continue for a few years living on dead plant material even with acid rain and lower temperatures. I would also suspect that the timing would be too short to resolve from geologic data so is there some other tell-tale factor to look at to confirm or dismiss the possibility? (Perhaps a very thin marker showing oxygen depletion?)

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