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Earth’s meteorite hit more than 500 million years ago.

Earth's meteorite hit more than 500 million years ago.

The asteroid belt between Jupiter and Mars is the main source of extraterrestrial matter falling to Earth. Credit: ESA/ATG Medialab.

For the first time, a unique study has been conducted at Lund University in Sweden to trace the flow of meteorites to Earth over the past 500 million years. contrary to current theory The researchers determined that major collisions in the asteroid belt generally did not significantly affect the number of impacts on Earth.

Researchers have been studying geological datasets since the 1

9th century to reconstruct how plants, animals, and climate have changed over millions of years. Until now, however, little was known about the flow of ancient meteorites. This makes sense because the effects are hard to come by. And the battered celestial bodies decay rapidly when exposed to Earth’s oxygen. A new study published in Panas Shows how researchers in Lund have created meteorites that bombed Earth in the last 500 million years.

Birger Schmitz, a professor of geology at Lund University, said: “The research community previously believed that the flow of meteorites to Earth was linked to dramatic events in the asteroid belt. very stable”

to study Researcher from the laboratory Lund University’s Astrogeobiology dissolved nearly ten tons of sedimentary rock from the ancient seafloor with strong acids. This is because the sediments contain residues from meteorites from the time they landed on Earth.

Meteorites consist of few minerals. which is chromium oxide which is highly resistant to degradation Microscopic chromium oxide seeds are sifted out in the laboratory and act as information-rich time capsules.

“The dissolved sediments represent 15 periods over the past 500 million years. In total, we extracted chromium oxide from nearly 10,000 different meteorites. Chemical analysis allowed us to identify the type of meteorite the seeds represent,” said Birger Schmitz.

Two thousand meteors fall on Earth’s surface every year. and about 63,000 space rocks have been documented by science. Space rocks are formed from the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, where celestial bodies destroyed by massive collisions orbit the sun.

“We were very surprised to learn that only 1 in 70 collisions of the largest asteroids that occurred in the last 500 million years resulted in more meteorites hitting Earth. for some reason Most of the rock remains in the asteroid belt,” Bergerschmitz said.

This study not only made the theory of meteorite flow generally accepted. It also gives a whole new perspective on the types of celestial bodies most vulnerable to collisions with Earth and where in the Solar System they originated. from the point of view of geological time Kilometer-sized celestial bodies regularly collide with Earth. One incident happened 66 million years ago when a celestial body more than 10 kilometers long hit the Yucatan Peninsula. This effect was in part the darkening of the world and the starvation of the dinosaurs.

“Future impacts from even small asteroids, such as in the sea near populated areas, can lead to disastrous results. This study provides important insights that we can use to prevent this from happening, for example to try to influence a fast trajectory. approaching the celestial bodies,” Birger Schmitz concluded.

The first big picture of a meteorite before the giant space collision 466 million years ago.

More information:
Fredrik Terfelt et al. The rupture of an asteroid and the delivery of a meteorite to Earth 500 million years ago. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (2021). doi: 10.1073/pnas.2020977118

Provided by Lund University

reference: Earth’s meteorite impact more than 500 million years ago (2021, June 8). Retrieved June 8, 2021 from https://phys.org/news/2021-06-earth-meteorite-impacts-million-years.html.

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