The meteorite that created the Chicxulub crater in Mexico—the meteorite popularly supposed to have caused dinosaur extinction—mighty as it was, wasn’t nearly mighty enough. So say Princeton researchers in the October issue of Geophysical Journal International.
Those who suggest the Mexican meteorite triggered events resulting in mass extinctions presume the meteorite caused catastrophes such as sun-blocking seismic fallout and unprecedented volcanic activity. The models supporting this scenario, however, were not based on a realistic model of the earth.
The realistic model, however, reveals seismic waves would not only fail to converge at the previously predicted Deccan area of India but also would not combine to produce a catastrophe of the epic proportions required to wipe out life on the planet.
Princeton researchers have developed a model that includes the earth’s elliptical shape, irregular surface, interior features, and oceans. These irregularities would dampen and distort seismic waves generated by meteorite impact. On a smooth spherical earth, the waves would converge on the opposite side at the antipodal point and combine their energy in a terrific volcanic upheaval. The realistic model, however, reveals seismic waves would not only fail to converge at the previously predicted Deccan area of India but also would not combine to produce a catastrophe of the epic proportions required to wipe out life on the planet.
Lead author Matthias Meschede explains, “The surface features of a planet or a moon have a huge effect on the aftershock a large meteorite will have, so it's extremely important to take those into account. After a meteorite impact, seismic waves travel outward across the Earth's surface like after a stone is thrown in water. These waves travel all the way around the globe and meet in a single point on the opposite side. . . . Our model shows that because the Earth is elliptical and its surface is heterogeneous those waves travel with different speeds in different areas, changing where the waves end up on the other side of the world and the waves' amplitude when they get there. These waves also are influenced by the interior.”
In contrast, “On the spherical model, all the waves come together at exactly one point and, as a result, have a huge amplitude. We found the waves are disturbed by surface features and take on a more ragged structure, meaning less energy is concentrated at the antipode.”
“Regarding the mass extinction,” Meschede adds, “we saw from our measurements that a Chicxulub-sized impact alone would be too small to cause such a large volcanic eruption as what occurred at the Deccan Traps. Our model shows that the antipodal focusing of the seismic wave from such an impact was hugely overestimated in previous calculations, which used a spherical-Earth model.”
The idea of a meteoric mass extinction event at the K-T boundary has other scientific problems as well. (See links below.) Biblically we need to realize that layers of fossils in the geologic column represent Flood-related rapid burials,1 not a timeline of extinctions and evolutionary history. Billions of creatures were buried during the Flood, including many dinosaurs. But the dinosaurs, like all other air-breathing animals, were represented among the creatures carried on Noah’s Ark. Following the Flood, some animals, including dinosaurs, eventually became extinct. We do not need a meteorite to explain the dinosaur extinction.
The Bible explains the fossil record where the meteorite fails to measure up. This bit of Princeton research thus confirms the supposition that the Chicxulub meteorite triggered mass extinction of terrestrial life is insupportable scientifically. We already knew it was insupportable biblically.
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