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5 June 2017

What caused the most toxic algal bloom ever observed in Monterey Bay?

In late spring 2015, the West Coast of North America experienced one of the most toxic algal blooms on record. A new study shows that, at least in Monterey Bay, California, the diatoms in this bloom became particularly toxic because of an unusually low ratio of silicate to nitrate in the waters of the bay.

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4 December 2015

Dinosaur-killing asteroid may have caused global algal bloom, marine extinction

The asteroid impact suspected of killing the dinosaurs may also have triggered a global algal bloom that contributed to a massive marine extinction more than 60 million years ago, according to a new study published in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets, a publication of the American Geophysical Union.

Around 66 million years ago, an asteroid 10 kilometers (six miles) in diameter slammed into the Yucatan peninsula, creating a crater 180 kilometers (110 miles) across and 20 kilometers (12 miles) deep. The Chicxulub impact sent tiny spheres of material up into the atmosphere where they became super-heated. Approximately 1023 of these microscopic spherules were ejected and re-entered the atmosphere to create a global carpet of silica glass 3-millimeters (0.19-inches) thick, known geologically as the Cretaceous-Paleogene layer.

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