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Crater Left By Asteroid That Wiped Out The Dinosaurs Shows Ice Age Sea Level

First Posted: Nov 25, 2016 04:10 AM EST
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Researchers found a huge underwater crater left that was apparently left by the asteroid that exterminated the dinosaurs. It has given researchers new evidence that sea levels in the Ice Age were much lower.

According to Phys.Org, scientists worked on a platform off Mexico's east coast to excavate for clues about the destruction of life 66 million years ago inside the 200-kilometer (125-mile) wide Chicxulub crater. The mission's leader, Jaime Urrutia, president of the Mexican Academy of Science, said that the researchers accidentally found evidence that the sea was much farther away than the current coast line during the Ice Age, which started 110,000 years ago and ended about 11,000 years ago.

Even though most of the crater is now located under the Gulf of Mexico, it was not submerged during the Ice Age. "We discovered a circular structure at the bottom (of the sea)," Urrutia told in a news conference. "The only way that (such structures) are made is through the dissolution of carbonate and for carbonate to dissolve it must be exposed to air," he said.

This shows that the Yucatan peninsula was "literally much larger" between 18,000 and 23,000 years ago during the last Ice Age, said the scientist. In a report by The Express Tribune, international experts in the field of geology, paleontology, and microbiology arrived on the Myrtle platform in the Gulf of Mexico in April and worked there. They were able to dig 1.5 kilometers (.93 miles) under the sea floor and managed to extract six tons of rock.

Some results of the studies were published in the journal Science but the analysis is still ongoing at a laboratory in Bremen, Germany.

Meanwhile, the 12-kilometer (7.4-mile) wide asteroid slammed the earth at a speed of 30 kilometers (18.6 miles) per second about 66 million years ago. It is believed that its crater is unique on the planet because of its "peak ring" formation, which is a circular elevation as high as 500 meters with a 30-kilometer radius.

Researchers installed the platform over one of the peaks to be able to study the nature of the rocks below and how they took shape. However, the scientists have not been able to explain how the granite and molten rock solidified into peaks.

The first results show that the rocks moved up "like jelly." But while the rock was molten, the granite does not show signs of heating, Urrutia said. The $15 million Expedition 364 was the first to peer into the undersea part of the Chicxulub crater.

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