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Table of contents
- Here’s how the world could end—and what we can do about it
- Objects that pose a threat
- Six cosmic catastrophes that could wipe out life on Earth
Now, in a paper published in the journal Nature Scientific Reports , Kennett and colleagues, led by Chilean paleontologist Mario Pino, present further evidence of a cosmic impact, this time far south of the equator, that likely lead to biomass burning, climate change and megafaunal extinctions nearly 13, years ago.
This is a major expansion of the extent of the YDB event. This discovery began several years ago, according to Kennett, when a group of Chilean scientists studying sediment layers at a well-known Quaternary paleontological and archaeological site, Pilauco Bajo, recognized changes known to be associated with YDB impact event.
They included a "black mat" layer, 12, years in age, that coincided with the disappearance of South American Pleistocene megafauna fossils, an abrupt shift in regional vegetation and a disappearance of human artifacts. This yielded the presence of microscopic spherules interpreted to have been formed by melting due to the extremely high temperatures associated with impact. The layer containing these spherules also show peak concentrations of platinum and gold, and native iron particles rarely found in nature. The Pilauco site spherules contain an unusual level of chromium, an element not found in Northern Hemisphere YDB impact spherules, but in South America.
Other evidence, which, Kennett noted, is consistent with previous and ongoing documentation of the region by Chilean scientists, pointed to a "very large environmental disruption at about 40 degrees south. Furthermore, he went on, the burning coincides with the timing of major YDB-related burning events in North America and western Europe.
The sedimentary layers at Pilauco contain a valuable record of pollen and seeds that show change in character of regional vegetation -- evidence of a shifting climate. However, in contrast to the Northern Hemisphere, where conditions became colder and wetter at the onset of the Younger Dryas, the opposite occurred in the Southern Hemisphere. According to him, the atmospheric zonal climatic belts shifted "like a seesaw," with a synergistic mechanism, bringing warming to the Southern Hemisphere even as the Northern Hemisphere experienced cooling and expanding sea ice.
The rapidity -- within a few years -- with which the climate shifted is best attributed to impact-related shifts in atmospheric systems, rather than to the slower oceanic processes, Kennett said. Around March 27, , based on evidence, there were signs of an impact on Mars. Images from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter provide compelling evidence of the largest impact observed to date on Mars in the form of fresh craters, the largest measuring It is estimated to be caused by an impactor 3 to 5 meters long.
Collisions between galaxies, or galaxy mergers , have been observed directly by space telescopes such as Hubble and Spitzer. However, collisions in planetary systems including stellar collisions , while long speculated, have only recently begun to be observed directly. In , an impact between minor planets was detected around the star NGC ID 8 by Spitzer and confirmed by ground observations. Computer modelling suggests that the impact involved large asteroids or protoplanets similar to the events believed to have led to the formation of terrestrial planets like the Earth.
Numerous science fiction stories and novels center around an impact event.
Here’s how the world could end—and what we can do about it
Wells wrote about such an event in his short story " The Star. Arthur C. Clarke 's novel Rendezvous with Rama opens with a significant asteroid impact in northern Italy in the year which gives rise to the Spaceguard Project, which later discovers the Rama spacecraft. In a Congressional study in the U. Heinlein used the concept of guided meteors in his novel The Moon is a Harsh Mistress , in which Moon rebels use rock-filled shipping containers as a weapon against their Earth oppressors. Several disaster films center on actual or threatened impact events.
Released during the turbulence of World War I , the Danish feature film The End of the World revolves around the near-miss of a comet which causes fire showers and social unrest in Europe. PDF direct link , Supplementary published information. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
Collision of two astronomical objects with measurable effects. See also: List of impact craters on Earth. Main article: Asteroid impact avoidance. Main article: End of civilization. Further information: Pleistocene. Further information: Holocene. Main article: list of bolides. Main article: Asteroid impact prediction.
Main article: List of largest craters in the Solar System. Geophysical Research Letters. Bibcode : GeoRL.. Scientific American.
Objects that pose a threat
Bibcode : SciAm. Daily Star. Retrieved 28 April The Washington Post. Retrieved 26 November The New York Times. White House. Retrieved 22 June Bibcode : Icar.. Now Nathan Myhrvold is back, and his papers have passed peer review". Congress Spring Retrieved 3 May Jay Melosh; Gareth Collins Retrieved UC Berkeley News Center.
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Australian Journal of Earth Sciences. Bibcode : AuJES.. Edwards August Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry. Discover Magazine. Geoscience Australia. Retrieved 26 June BBC News. March 3, Annual Review of Anthropology.
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Archived from the original on Meteorite Magazine. Retrieved 15 February USA Today.
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Six cosmic catastrophes that could wipe out life on Earth
Comet albedo is as low as 0. Results of simulations for the comet with a radius of m are shown in Figs. Surface temperature of a comet nucleus and a rate of radius decrease versus distance to the Sun Figure 4. Lifetime of comets with m radii in orbits of short-period comets as a function of perihelion Marina Kuzmitcheva and Boris Ivanov the lower panel versus the distance from the Sun are presented.
The low branches of solid curves refer to motion from aphelion to perihelion; the upper ones pertain to reverse motion. For comparison the model temperature Tm is plotted as a dashed line. One can see that the radius reduction rate depends strongly on the surface temperature.
Heat conductivity of porous cometary matter is low, and while a comet moves to perihelion, the rate of sublimation grows.