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The presence of gypsum means the plume of vaporized rock that spread across the world was dense with sulphates that blocked sunlight. The same thing happened after the eruption of Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines. Sulphates reduced the amount of sunlight reaching land by %, which caused a drop in global temperatures. years ago, Pinatubo had an incredible effect on the atmosphere. It cooled it by very little, but it had an effect. And it stayed for a couple of years. Right. Here, we have an event which is orders of magnitude more important. Pinatubo is nothing compared to the Chicxulub impact. It is really going global, no place is protected, no dinosaur can escape the consequence of the Chicxulub impact. This is the gypsum. This is what killed the dinosaurs. Wow. This astonishing find is the final piece of the jigsaw… allowing us, for the first time, to model what finally killed the dinosaurs. It’s what happened in the days after the impact that made it a global extinction. Our blue planet turned Grey. Long after the hot skies cooled, ash and dust in the atmosphere almost completely blocked out the sun. As the lights went out, global temperatures plunged more than ten degrees centigrade within days. This is where we get to the great irony of the story. Because in the end, it wasn’t the size of the asteroid… the scale of the blast, or even its global reach that made dinosaurs extinct. It was where the impact happened. Had the asteroid struck a few moments earlier, or maybe even a couple of seconds later, then rather than hitting shallow coastal waters, it might have hit deep ocean. An impact in the nearby Atlantic or Pacific oceans would have meant much less vaporized rock, including the deadly gypsum. The cloud would have been less dense and sunlight could have still reached the planet’s surface… meaning what happened next might have been avoided. In this cold, dark world, food ran out in the oceans within a week, and shortly after, on land also. With nothing to eat anywhere on the planet, the mighty dinosaurs stood little chance of survival. In Patagonia, % of plant species went extinct. The southern beeches would have shed their leaves, shutting down for the long winter that the asteroid set off. The hadrosaurs were left to starve. The demise of the dinosaurs down here in Patagonia was nowhere near as dramatic as being obliterated by a blast wave, or drowned in a tsunami, or even being caught up in a colossal forest fire. But they were doomed, nonetheless. The dinosaurs as a group were hugely successful and diverse, they’d been on the planet for more than million years. But this Chicxulub event was more than just a local phenomenon. It changed the climate globally, plunging the world into a deep, deep winter. And there was no time to adapt. So, in some ways, the dinosaurs that died instantaneously were the lucky ones. This sudden climate change may finally solve the mystery of what happened in New Jersey. As the food supply in the oceans dwindled, shallow water creatures roamed ever deeper. But eventually, the food would run out.



Remonter