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Bad Timing Caused Dinosaur Extinction

About 66 million years ago an asteroid, more than nine miles wide, crashed into the Gulf of Mexico. Shortly after that, the dinosaurs died off.

A new BBC Two TV documentary examines exactly what happened. One thing the BBC discovered is the asteroid couldn’t have hit at a worse time or place for the dinosaurs. If the asteroid hit a few seconds sooner or later, the huge rock would have landed in deep ocean water. Instead it landed in shallow water. The impact had the energy of 10 billion atomic bombs like the one the US dropped on Hiroshima, Japan.

The rock became vaporized, creating a huge thick cloud preventing sunlight from reaching the Earth’s surface. The planet became cold, dark and barren, causing the dinosaurs to die off.

According to the documentary, if the asteroid landed in deeper water further from shore, a much thinner cloud would have formed. Sunlight could have passed through and the earth would have been warmer and food sources would have survived. Perhaps the dinosaurs would have too.


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