Experts believe that the gas giant played a major role in the catastrophe that occurred 66 million years ago.
Scientists believe that Jupiter pushed a large comet into solar orbit 66 million years ago. Reported by Forbes.
We are talking about long-term comets reaching the inner solar system from the Ort cloud. They orbit the sun in very long orbits. In a new article by Harvard astronomers Amir Siraj and Avi Loeb, it is said that Jupiter pushes very long elliptical comets into a circular orbit.
In such close parts of the Sun, large comets are destroyed by gravity and create large debris. Most of these fragments rarely reach Earth, but one of them may have been wrecked 66 million years ago in the Gulf of Mexico.
The new theory is that long-term comets are 10 times more likely to collide with Earth. According to scientists, the study of this process provides an opportunity not only for paleontology, but also for mankind to avoid a repeat of the catastrophe. Last time, an asteroid impact created a chain of events that led to the death of dinosaurs and destroyed three-quarters of all life on Earth.
An active volcano could certainly play a role in the death of dinosaurs. The main trigger is still a crashed asteroid on the Yucatan Peninsula, which turns into the Chikshulab Impact crater.
“The origin of the Chikshulab Impact is still an open question,” says Siraj.
The new model seeks to identify specific comets that can leave impact craters, such as the Chikshulub. It was previously believed that the impact was from the main asteroid belt, but the study results suggest otherwise.
Scientists say the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter has very low carbon dioxide. Meanwhile, traces of an ancient asteroid containing carbonaceous chondrite have been left in the Chikshulab crater.
Theoretically, asteroids with such a structure were formed on the protoplanetary disk of the Solar System and are now outside the orbit of Jupiter. They are the ones that have become long-lived comets.
The authors suggest that the Chikshulab crater not only has the necessary structure, but also that the largest crater on the planet, Vredafort, appeared in South Africa 2 billion years ago. This includes the Zamanshin crater in Kazakhstan.
The craters Vredefort and Zhamanshin confirm the theory not only by their chemical composition but also by their size.
In the future, the study authors hope that humans will be able to detect such long-lived comets using new tools such as the Vera Rubin Observatory (launched in 2022).
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