Cretaceous-Tertiary extinction event. Image 1 of 8. Artwork of an asteroid approaching the Earth. The Moon is at lower centre. This is the asteroid that is thought to have caused the extinction of the dinosaurs when it collided with the Earth. The collision took place around 65 million years ago, marking the end of the Cretaceous period and the beginning of the Tertiary period. The impact took place at sea, sending tsunamis (massive waves) around the globe, destroying coastal areas. Water vapour thrown into the atmosphere lowered global temperatures. Plant and then animal life began to die off. The dinosaurs never recovered, and mammals rose to become the dominant form of life. For the sequence, see images E402/173 to E402/180.
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