The Big Bang was just the beginning for us, and the beginning of the end for the dinosaurs.
It’s safe to say that it was more complicated than a large scale car crash, and now a study published in the aptly title journal Science has found that the dinosaurs faced a volcanic shower following the meteor impact.
The researchers from UC Berkeley believe that when a six mile wide asteroid hit off the coast of Mexico and changed the climate, the impact triggered an increased output of sulphurous gas and dust from the Deccan Traps in India which covered the Earth.
Within 50,000 years of the impact (which is actually a minimal amount of time in geographical years), the volcanoes suddenly doubled their eruption frequency and as a result the sun’s rays were blocked.
From there, the world was plunged into a nuclear winter that continued long after it killed off our prehistoric friends, delaying the recovery of life for 500,000 years after the KT boundary – the point in time marking the end of the Cretaceous and start of the Tertiary period.
Co-author Professor Mark Richards said of the find:
If our high-precision dates continue to pin these three events – the impact, the extinction and the major pulse of volcanism – closer and closer together, people are going to have to accept the likelihood of a connection among them.
The scenario we are suggesting – that the impact triggered the volcanism – does in fact reconcile what had previously appeared to be an unimaginable coincidence.