Artwork showing an asteroid colliding with Earth

Artwork showing an asteroid colliding with Earth

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Credit: JOHN FOSTER/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Asteroid impact. Artwork of a large asteroid colliding with Earth. Such a devastating event may have been responsible for the extinction of the dinosaurs. Around 65 million years ago, it is thought an asteroid or comet core some 10-20 kilometres across hit Earth. Such an impact would have created a crater approaching 200 km wide, and thrown trillions of tonnes of dust into the atmosphere. This may have blocked the Sun's light and caused global climate changes. The remains of this debris are found worldwide as a layer of iridium-rich rocks known as the "K/T boundary". Other impacts like this in Earth's future are a statistical certainty.

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