Sit back and relax and picture yourself 65 million years back in time. There is no trace of mankind on the planet Earth, just animals populating the sea, land and air. The plant life is prehistoric with tall primitive trees and plant-like giant ferns dominating the landscape. The rock formations are red, just like the red-rock formations found in Arizona and Utah. Herds of plant eating dinosaurs are grazing as they move through the landscape. It is a peaceful scene, almost like the beginning of the “Jurrasic Park” movie. But then it violently changes. The sky turns dark as a 6-mile wide asteroid hurls itself toward the planet. It is traveling at about 40,000 mph, and when it impacts with Earth the energy released is 2 million times the impact of the largest nuclear bomb detonation. At the time of the collision, wildfires break out and earthquake faults are disturbed, causing massive volcanic eruptions. All this energy released creates massive tsunamis miles high to traverse the globe. And with all the activity, a huge debris cloud covers the planet creating total darkness. This sounds like a coming attraction for a computer-generated imagery movie, but it is not. It actually happened. How did the scientists come to this conclusion? The rock record. Yes, scientists now have the ability to read Earth’s history through compressed rock formations. The rock record confirms there was a 75 percent mass extinction of life during this catastrophic time. In 1980 the chemical element iridium was discovered in rock formations which corresponded with the mass extinction event. The most interesting fact was iridium itself – this element is only found in space. They needed one more piece of the puzzle – where did the impact take place? In 1990 they discovered the impact was in the Yucatan peninsula. They named the site the Chicxulub Crater. It measures 180 miles wide! The impact to the Earth was so great upon impact the granite bedrock liquified. The liquid rock formed a tower that rose over 6.2 miles before settling back into the ringed crater. All these events confirm that there was indeed a cataclysmic violent action upon the planet. Can this happen to the Earth again? Yes, but now we have technology to search space and discover we are safe for this century. It gives us time to create ships to steer asteroids from the Earth’s path. It is no longer science fiction but fact – we strive forward with science and technology to save us from another raining of terror from space.
SharLeigh has an inquisitive nature – she is interested in current events, history, science and many more subjects, including things that go bump in the night! Since 1997, SharLeigh has scoured the internet, looking for interesting, fun and timely topics covering all sorts of human-interest subjects for her articles from her home in Fontana, CA.