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Morning Lineup – February 10

Sunday Morning – How About That Big Ka-Boom
That Did In The Dinosaurs?

Another disaster from the past has been documented and written up for the annals of history.  Joining the growing ranks of San Francisco Earthquake and Fire of '06 books, Triangle Shirtwaist investigations, and the like, is a new published report that "confirms" that the dinosaurs (and most other forms of animal life) were indeed wiped out in one mighty ka-boom 60 million years ago when a 6-mile-long asteroid slammed into the earth at what is now the Yucatan peninsula in Mexico.

This study began a little over 30 years ago when a UC-Berkeley professor Luis Alvarez and his son Walter linked the two events and published their findings.  After three decades of scrutiny and continued research by scads of scientists, a theoretical conclusion was published in this month's issue of Science Journal.  They explain that the Big Event was really just the last straw in a succession of natural problems that had already started wiping out the earth's creatures.  The theory was summed up the other day in The Daily Mail:

The cosmic impact near the town of Chicxulub in Mexico left a crater more than 110 miles (180 kilometers) wide. The explosion would have released as much energy as 100 trillion tons of TNT, more than a billion times more than the atom bombs that destroyed Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

While the impact may not have been the sole cause of the dinosaur extinction, it almost definitely dealt the death blow, confirm researchers at Berkeley University's Geochronology Centre in California.

Director Paul Renne said: "We have shown that these events are synchronous to within a gnat’s eyebrow. Therefore the impact clearly played a major role in extinctions, but it probably wasn’t just the impact. The impact was clearly the final straw that pushed Earth past the tipping point."

The asteroid collision with Earth has now been dated to 66,038,000 years ago. The new extinction date is precise to within 11,000 years.Before the cosmic explosion, many creatures were brought to the brink of extinction by dramatic climate swings in the preceding million years, including long cold snaps.

Researchers used high-precision radiometric dating analysis of debris kicked up by the impact which would have radioactive materials within them.

After the dust settled, about the only thing left were the birds.

This huge crater isn't something that you can walk up to and take a look at.  Half of it is underwater and the remaining half has filled with silt, etc., over the past millions of years.  If you want to find it on the map, enter the town's name where it's located, Chicxulub, Mexico, in your Google Maps search box.


Some additional reading on this fresh announcement:
Los Angeles Times 

It's still safe for us to walk around without having to look up constantly, so let's get this equipment checked out.  I'll get the Bunn-O-Matic going while we wait for the Sunday breakfast to hit the table.  See you back in the day room.

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