How an asteroid wiped out the dinosaurs

Mark Garlick / SPL / Getty

A giant asteroid crashed into Earth 66 million years ago, ending the era of dinosaurs. Now researchers claim to have discovered pieces of the deadly celestial body.

66 million years ago the course of the earth’s history changed dramatically. Where the Gulf of Mexico is today, an asteroid called Chicxulub, at least 10 kilometers across, crashed into Earth. The force, equivalent to several billion Hiroshima atomic bombs, dug out a huge crater. The pressure wave ensured that all life within a radius of 1500 kilometers was destroyed in a very short time. Tsunamis, forest fires and a kind of nuclear winter that cooled the earth in the years that followed finished off the rest of the animals. The result was a gigantic mass extinction. About 75 percent of all species disappeared, and the era of dinosaurs came to an abrupt end.

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