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Research team says extraterrestrial impact to blame for Ice Age extinctions
Date:9/24/2007

ice sheet, releasing water vapor into the atmosphere.

The result was rapid cooling of about eight degrees over the next 100 years, Bunch said. The melting of the ice sheet and subsequent climate change would explain the water-based nature of the black mat.

Catastrophic extraterrestrial impacts are not new. Scientists theorize a much larger asteroid impact annihilated the dinosaurs and about 85 percent of the Earths biomass about 65 million years ago. The most recent incident, known as the Tunguska event, occurred in 1908 in Russia. The Tunguska explosion was an airburst of a comet or meteorite estimated at 10-15-megatons that destroyed tens of millions of trees across more than 800 square miles.

Bunch says impact airbursts may be more common than previously thought with possibly two or three such events having occurred over the last 100,000 years. And more are sure to follow.


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Contact: Lisa Nelson
Lisa.Nelson@nau.edu
928-523-6123
Northern Arizona University
Source:Eurekalert

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