A recent study revealed that the formation of rocks hit by meteor When it reaches Earth, it determines the extent of its impact, not just the size of the meteorite. The Earth has been bombarded with rocks from space throughout its 4.5 billion year history, which led to the generation of dust in the atmosphere and covering the surface with debris.
And according to the British newspaper, “Daily Mail”, a team of experts wanted to know why some of the meteorites in mass extinctions like the one that killed the dinosaurs, while others were less deadly.
Researchers from the University of Liverpool analyzed 44 impacts over the past 600 million years and found that those hitting rocks rich in potassium feldspar almost always lead to mass extinctions, regardless of the size of the meteorite itself.
Potassium feldspar, the central mineral for mass extinction events, is non-toxic but acts as a powerful ice nucleus aerosol that severely affects cloud dynamics. It allows clouds to let in more solar radiation, which in turn warms the planet and changes the climate.
When this happens, it makes the atmosphere more sensitive to warming from greenhouse gas emissions, such as from large volcanic eruptions.
University of Liverpool sedimentologist Dr Chris Stevenson, a research co-author on the international study, said that for decades, scientists had been baffled as to why some meteorites cause mass extinctions, and others, even large meteorites, do not.
The sediment scientist added, “It’s surprising when we put together the data: life continued as usual during the fourth largest impact with a crater diameter of about 48 km, while half the volume was associated with a mass extinction only 5 million years ago.”
A number of mechanisms have also been proposed as to why some impacts lead to mass extinctions, including related volcanic eruptions, and using this new method to assess the mineral content of meteorite ejection blankets, it was shown that every time a meteorite, large or small, hit rocks rich in potassium feldspar. , it is associated with a mass extinction event.
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