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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.