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This animal was living around the coast, in the shallow water. So, what do you think you’ve got here? All this stuff died suddenly, and was buried all at about the same time, so that means all the stuff that comes in from the coast has to come in suddenly. And that tells us that there is an environmental disturbance going on on the coastline, up-shore from here. Whatever was the cause, this calamity that wiped out these animals, it was happening in the deep water, it was happening along the coastline, and it’s happening on land. Ken’s theory is controversial, but if he’s right, this could be the first fossil evidence of a sudden mass death event at the end of the Cretaceous… right at that point in time when % of life on Earth is wiped out. But what caused this mass death event? Could all these animals have been killed by the impact of an asteroid , miles away in the Gulf of Mexico? Ben is with the scientists who have been drilling into the seabed above the asteroid crater. I’m here, right in the middle of the drilling platform, and there’s a fresh core about to come out. We’ve already drilled through metres of limestone sediment. Now, we’re going to start to bring up rock core for the scientists to examine as we get closer to the impact crater. This is the first full core of the expedition, we’re excited to say. The first full, three-meter-long core, some light layers. We’re wondering if they’re ashes or something. We’re pretty excited. This, along with other core samples like it, can tell the team so much information about what was going on at the time of the impact. The first thing the team does with each new core is find out how old the rock is. Exactly what’s living, exactly what fossils we find tell us what age we are. As soon as the core comes up on deck, we are given a small crumb of material, we take it back to the lab and give an age call within five minutes of the core appearing on the deck. I just got some sweet pictures. Look at this crystal this is the same stuff from the core catcher under the microscope. Look at these crystals. Though it contains valuable information, this core isn’t from the impact crater itself. Instead, it’s from the layers of sediment above it. The team needs to drill a further metres down into the sediment to get to the crater itself. The further down they go, the harder the rock is, so that means weeks of -hours-a-day drilling. They want to pull core from an area of the inner crater called the peak ring, found only in the largest of super craters. They’re formed when the massive impact of an asteroid forces rock to erupt in a central uprising, which then collapses outwards to form the distinctive peak ring. It’s these rocks that contain the clues to what happened in the moments after impact. It’s been three weeks since the team started drilling into the seabed and time and money are running short. We didn’t sample that because it’s in the middle of a core. The drill is nearly through the hundreds of metres of limestone that has built up since the asteroid struck, approaching rock layers from the day of impact.



Remonter