We are aware of the fact that giant asteroid, that created Chicxulub crater, was behind the extinction of the dinosaurs some 66 million years ago. But a newly released study shows that the same asteroid acidified Earth’s oceans, wiping out most of the underwater life. This is the first direct evidence found by the experts that shows the dinosaur-killing asteroid was also to blame for severe acidification of the oceans, enough to prompt mass extinction. The scientists study fossilized algae from millions of years ago to reach at this conclusion. The impact of the deadly asteroid was gauged by analysing the chemical element boron. The experts believe that this will put to rest speculations that other natural disasters could be the reason behind the demise of the dinosaurs.
According to researchers, significant amounts of marine life were destroyed by the dinosaur-killing asteroid. They also claimed that there’s evidence to prove that acid levels were not caused by volcanic activity, as presumed earlier. Michael Henehan, Geochemist from the GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences, said that no signs of acidification of the oceans were detected before the impact. Pincelli Hull, the geologist from Yale University in Connecticut, also said that ocean acidification could have been the cause of mass extinction in the marine territory. Clay samples from an underground cave in Geulhemmerberg in the Netherlands were looked at by the researchers. The cave has an especially thick layer of clay, Henehan said.
The newly discovered findings also answer some long-standing questions about whether some species (for example of smaller plankton) were able to survive the impact or it almost completely eradicated ocean life. In other words, as much as 50 percent species were lost followed by a transitional recovery period. According to Henehan, this is the first direct link between a sharp rise in the pH levels of the oceans and dinosaur extinction so far. This could give researchers some hints about how marine lives begin to flourish after that, a lengthy process that spanned up to millions of years.