Supposed Confirmation of Meteorite Impact that Killed Dinosaurs

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“Confirmation” that a meteorite impact killed the dinosaurs has come in the form of panel consensus at the recent Lunar and Planetary Science Conference.

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The 41 members of the panel coauthored a new analysis in Science of evidence related to the Chicxulub impact crater. That crater, stretching some 112 miles (180 km) wide in Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, has long been considered the leading evidence of an impact that drove the dinosaurs extinct. Judging by the characteristics of the impact crater, scientists estimate that the space rock was 6 to 9 miles (10 to 15 km) wide, struck the earth “20 times faster than a speeding bullet,” and released over a billion times more explosive power than the atomic weapons used in World War 2.

The impact would have caused immediate local devastation, including fires, earthquakes, landslides, and tsunamis, followed by global devastation from debris blown into the atmosphere. The resulting “global winter” would have devastated many life-forms, including dinosaurs.

The scientists reviewed previous research concerning the impact crater and the K–T boundary in the fossil record, which is said to coincide with dinosaurs’ extinction and contains chemical signatures associated with space impacts. Although the chemical signatures are also associated with volcanic activity, the panel concluded that the only volcanic events conjectured to have caused the K–T extinction occurred 500,000 years too early and would not have released enough debris for a global winter.

Biblical creationists interpret the fossil record as largely having been laid down during the global Flood (with the exception of some pre-Flood and post-Flood sediments), which implies that the K–T boundary would not mark dinosaurs’ extinction; although the Flood killed and fossilized a great many dinosaurs, Noah would have taken representatives on the Ark. As for what did cause the disappearance of the dinosaurs, see the links below.

As for the Chicxulub crater, it presumably did strike during the catastrophic Flood year, which we know because of the chemical signature it left in Flood-era sediments. However, whether it is responsible for all such chemical signature in the K–T boundary is a matter of debate. Most creationists believe there likely were a number of space impacts during the Flood (perhaps including >one responsible for a crater in the Congo1), along with substantial volcanic and tectonic activity—all of which contributed to such chemical signatures.

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Footnotes

  1. Paul Rincon, “DR Congo Ring May be Giant ‘Impact Crater’,” BBC News, March 10, 2010, http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/8526093.stm.

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