The Chicxulub Impact

Improved Essays
Stage 1: What caused the Chicxulub Impactor to enter the Earth’s atmosphere and hit Earth

(2) About 65 million years ago an asteroid that is roughly 10 kilometres across, hit Earth on the coast of the Yucatán Peninsula in Mexico. It caused a huge explosion and left a crater that is about 185 kilometres across. This asteroid impact is commonly known to be the reason for the extinction of three quarters of the dinosaurs. (4) The asteroid soared through the sky at more than 40 times the speed of sound.

(6) The earth moves through space in its orbit around the sun at 107,000 kilometres per hour. This makes the likelihood of an object to hit into Earth quite high. Luckily, most of the time those objects are as small as a pebble. This can be
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All though they orbit the sun they are not considered planets. (7) Asteroids come in many different sizes that can range from a few metres to hundreds of kilometres in diameter. The Chicxulub impactor was 10 kilometres in diameter. Between Mars and Jupiter is the asteroid belt which is where most asteroids are found. Sometimes an asteroids orbit can be altered and come closer to the Sun, which means it is also coming closer to Earth. This may have been the case with the Chicxulub impactor.

(6) Larger objects- such as the Chicxulub impactor- can make it through the atmosphere when they lose their cosmic velocity and start falling towards the Earth’s surface with the pull of gravity. This is known by scientists as the retardation point and usually occurs several kilometres above
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Asteroids usually hit Earth at the speed of 16-32 kilometres per second. (10) For an asteroid that is 10 kilometres across, like the Chicxulub impactor, it is very hard for it to slow down when it is coming through the Earth's atmosphere. As stated in Stage 1, the atmosphere usually burns up the rocky body but when a much larger object is travelling at 30 kilometres per second, the air friction will not slow it down as much.

(11) A lot of the time asteroids explode in the air before they hit the ground. The huge pressure forces caused by the air resistance as the asteroid comes through the atmosphere at very fast speeds, causes the asteroid to explode. (10) But with the Chicxulub impactor, the energy, air friction and speed in the impact would have vaporized the asteroid after it hit Earth, along with a large amount of the Earth's crust. This happened because the asteroid was much larger in diameter than most objects that collide with Earth. The impact caused a crater 185 kilometres across to be left on the Earth’s surface and all the left over rock to be thrown into the

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