Terrawatch: the asteroid that wiped out the dinosaurs triggered a global mega-tsunami | Asteroids



Any dinosaur that survived the impact of the asteroid Chicxulub 66 million years ago then faced a mega-tsunami that swept across the globe and started as a mile-high wave, according to a study.

It’s no surprise that a 9-mile-wide asteroid slamming into the Gulf of Mexico would generate one hell of a tsunami, but this is the first time anyone has calculated its size and range.

Using models of crater impact and global tsunamis, the researchers showed that within 10 minutes of impact, a 1.5 km high wall of water escaped from the Gulf of Mexico. In 24 hours, the coasts of New Zealand – more than 10,000 km away – were swallowed up by 10 meter high waves and in 48 hours, few coasts remained intact.

Their findings, published in AGU Advances, are corroborated by the jumble of rocks swept away by the tsunami in remote locations. A 66-million-year-old rock mashup along the eastern coasts of New Zealand was initially attributed to seismic activity but is now thought to be debris from the tsunami.

The researchers estimate that the tsunami was about 30,000 times more energetic than the Indian Ocean tsunami of December 26, 2004. “All historically documented tsunamis pale in comparison to such global impact,” they write.

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