Dinosaurs Were Killed By Sulfuric Acid Clouds That Made Earth Dark And Cold

First Posted: Jan 17, 2017 03:20 AM EST

Tiny droplets of sulfuric acid had formed high up in planet Earth's air millions of years ago, as an aftermath of an asteroid collision with Earth about 66 years ago. The sulfuric acid clouds rendered the planet cold and dark and eventually led to the extinction of dinosaurs, a new study has revealed.

Conducted by Germany's Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), the study found that the sulfuric acid droplets led to a long-lasting cooling effect, making it a plausible factor for the death of dinosaurs, the Economic Times reported.

"The long-term cooling caused by the sulfate aerosols was much more important for the mass extinction than the dust that stays in the atmosphere for only a relatively short time," said Georg Feulner, researcher at PIK. Furthermore, it took 30 years for the climate to recover.

"The dinosaurs were used to living in a lush climate. After the asteroid's impact, which also led to the formation of the Chicxulub crater in Mexico, the annual average temperature was below freezing point for about three years," the study added. "Evidently, the ice caps expanded. Even in the tropics, annual mean temperatures went from 27 degrees to mere five degrees."

Additionally, as per the study, the vigorous mixing of the oceans due to surface cooling disturbed the marine ecosystems severely, which might have been another factor causing the extinction of dinosaurs. As the surface water became cooler, it sank into the depths of the ocean and warmer water rose from below.

The warm temperature water carried nutrients upward that possibly led to a massive growth of algae that further created toxic substances that had a negative impact on coastal life. Moreover, the sulfur-laden gases that evaporated from the violent asteroid collision on planet Earth's surface were the chief cause for blocking sunlight, which subsequently cooled down Earth.

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