Earth Struck By Asteroid Bigger Than What Killed Dinosaurs Billion Years Ago, Scientists Say

First Posted: May 19, 2016 10:09 AM EDT

Scientists believe that Earth was struck by a gigantic asteroid three and a half billion years ago. This was the time when the Earth was in its infancy.

CNN reports that the findings were printed online in the journal Precambrian Research. The asteroid that hit the earth billion years ago was approximately 12 to 18 miles (20 to 30 kilometers) wide. This was about twice the diameter of the asteroid that killed the dinosaurs and eight to 25 times the weight. Its impact would have been felt around the planet Earth.

Andrew Glikson from the Australian National University (ANU) Planetary Institute said that the impact would have triggered earthquakes orders of magnitude greater than terrestrial earthquakes. This would have caused huge tsunamis and would have made cliffs crumble.

The researchers have found an evidence of the apocalyptic event that was buried inside an ancient rock formation in Australia. They based their analysis on tiny glass beads, which are called spherules. These formed from vaporized material that was caused by the asteroid's impact.

The spherules were found in a 3.46 billion-year-old layer of sediment in Western Australia's Marble Bar. The layer is some of the oldest sediment on Earth. They also found elements such as chromium, platinum, and nickel in the same extents as those found in asteroids.

Glikson said that the discovery raises hopes for further unearths from the planet's ancient fierce past. He further said that this is just the tip of the iceberg. They only discovered evidence for 17 impacts older than 2.5 billion years, yet there could have been hundreds. He concluded that asteroid hits this big result in major tectonic shifts and extensive magma flows. They could have drastically affected the way the Earth evolved.

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