Navigation Links
Mapping the demise of the dinosaurs
Date:12/9/2013

SAN FRANCISCO, CA About 65 million years ago, an asteroid or comet crashed into a shallow sea near what is now the Yucatn Peninsula of Mexico. The resulting firestorm and global dust cloud caused the extinction of many land plants and large animals, including most of the dinosaurs. At this week's meeting of the American Geophysical Union (AGU) in San Francisco, MBARI researchers will present evidence that remnants from this devastating impact are exposed along the Campeche Escarpmentan immense underwater cliff in the southern Gulf of Mexico.

The ancient meteorite impact created a huge crater, over 160 kilometers across. Unfortunately for geologists, this crater is almost invisible today, buried under hundreds of meters of debris and almost a kilometer of marine sediments. Although fallout from the impact has been found in rocks around the world, surprisingly little research has been done on the rocks close to the impact site, in part because they are so deeply buried. All existing samples of impact deposits close to the crater have come from deep boreholes drilled on the Yucatn Peninsula.

In March 2013, an international team of researchers led by Charlie Paull of the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI) created the first detailed map of the Campeche Escarpment. The team used multi-beam sonars on the research vessel Falkor, operated by the Schmidt Ocean Institute. The resulting maps have recently been incorporated in Google Maps and Google Earth for viewing by researchers and the general public.

Paull has long suspected that rocks associated with the impact might be exposed along the Campeche Escarpment, a 600-kilometer-long underwater cliff just northwest of the Yucatn Peninsula. Nearly 4,000 meters tall, the Campeche Escarpment is one of the steepest and tallest underwater features on Earth. It is comparable to one wall of the Grand Canyonexcept that it lies thousands of meters beneath the sea.

As in the walls of the Grand Canyon, sedimentary rock layers exposed on the face of the Campeche Escarpment provide a sequential record of the events that have occurred over millions of years. Based on the new maps, Paull believes that rocks formed before, during, and after the impact are all exposed along different parts of this underwater cliff.

Just as a geologist can walk the Grand Canyon, mapping layers of rock and collecting rock samples, Paull hopes to one day perform geologic "fieldwork" and collect samples along the Campeche Escarpment. Only a couple of decades ago, the idea of performing large-scale geological surveys thousands of meters below the ocean surface would have seemed a distant fantasy. Over the last eight years, however, such mapping has become almost routine for MBARI geologists using underwater robots.

The newly created maps of the Campeche Escarpment could open a new chapter in research about one of the largest extinction events in Earth's history. Already researchers from MBARI and other institutions are using these maps to plan additional studies in this little-known area. Detailed analysis of the bathymetric data and eventual fieldwork on the escarpment will reveal fascinating new clues about what happened during the massive impact event that ended the age of the dinosaursclues that have been hidden beneath the waves for 65 million years.

In addition to the Schmidt Ocean Institute, Paull's collaborators in this research included Jaime Urrutia-Fucugauchi from the Universidad Nacional Autnoma de Mexico and Mario Rebolledo- Vieyra of the Centro de Investigacin Cientfica de Yucatn. Paull also worked closely with MBARI researchers, including geophysicist and software engineer Dave Caress, an expert on processing of multibeam sonar data, and geologist Roberto Gwiazda, who served as project manager and will be describing this research at the AGU meeting.


'/>"/>

Contact: Kim Fulton-Bennett
kfb@mbari.org
831-775-1835
Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. Speeding up drug discovery with rapid 3-D mapping of proteins
2. Beyond base pairs: Mapping the functional genome
3. Road-mapping the Asian brain
4. Geosphere: How geology, technology, modeling, and mapping see into Earths past and present
5. Physics and math shed new light on biology by mapping the landscape of evolution
6. Influenza research: Can dynamic mapping reveal clues about seasonality?
7. USDA scientists collaborate with global researchers to advance the mapping of the barley genome
8. Carnegie debuts revolutionary biosphere mapping capability at AGU
9. Mapping effort charts restoration tack for Great Lakes
10. Brain Activity Mapping Project aims to understand the brain
11. Mapping of cancer cell fuel pumps paves the way for new drugs
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Mapping the demise of the dinosaurs
(Date:4/13/2017)... SANTA MONICA, Calif. , April 13, 2017 /PRNewswire/ ... New York will feature emerging and ... Innovation Summits. Both Innovation Summits will run alongside the ... variety of speaker sessions, panels and demonstrations focused on ... east coast,s largest advanced design and manufacturing event will ...
(Date:4/11/2017)... , April 11, 2017 Crossmatch®, a ... authentication solutions, today announced that it has been ... Research Projects Activity (IARPA) to develop next-generation Presentation ... "Innovation has been a driving force ... program will allow us to innovate and develop ...
(Date:4/11/2017)... , April 11, 2017 No two ... researchers at the New York University Tandon School ... Engineering have found that partial similarities between prints ... used in mobile phones and other electronic devices ... The vulnerability lies in the fact that ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:5/22/2017)... ... , ... Stratevi, a boutique firm that partners with healthcare companies to creatively ... office in downtown Boston at 745 Atlantic Ave. , “We are seeing that ... on the value they provide, not just to patients, but also payers. Having a ...
(Date:5/21/2017)... ANGELES, CA (PRWEB) , ... May 19, 2017 ... ... the annual meeting and educational conference of the American Association of Bioanalysts (AAB) ... the Galleria Hotel in Houston. The conference reinforces AAB’s commitment to excellence in ...
(Date:5/19/2017)... ... May 19, 2017 , ... The University City Science ... technologies ripe for commercialization, and who are affiliated with the 21 partner academic ... proposals. QED, now in its tenth round, is the first multi-institutional proof-of-concept program ...
(Date:5/18/2017)... ... ... Clinical Supplies Management (“CSM”), a Great Point Partners II (“GPP”) portfolio company, today announced ... in size over the past six months with the acquisition of businesses in Belgium ... as Chief Financial Officer. Roger has over 25 years of experience in finance ...
Breaking Biology Technology: