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Chicxulub impact crater, Yucatan

Chicxulub impact crater, Yucatan

E670/0043

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Credit

D. VAN RAVENSWAAY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY D. VAN RAVENSWAAY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

Chicxulub crater. Artwork of the Chicxulub impact crater on the Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico, soon after its creation. This impact may have caused the extinction of the dinosaurs and 70% of all Earth's species 65 million years ago. The crater is about 180 kilometres (km) wide and was caused by an asteroid or comet core which was 10-20 km across. The impact threw trillions of tonnes of dust into the atmosphere which may have blocked the Sun's light and caused global climate changes. The remains of this debris are found worldwide as a layer in rocks known as the "K/T boundary". Other impacts like this in Earth's future are a statistical certainty.

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