Incoming: The Chicxulub Impactor, Part 2 ― Evidence
By Stephanie Osborn
Why would anyone even think about an asteroid impact? Let alone killing the dinos?
Well, it turns out that there’s really quite a bit of evidence to indicate exactly that.
Remember that series of arcs that Glen Penfield and Antonio Camargo-Zanoguera found in the gravity and magnetic analysis on and around the Yucatan Peninsula? Well, it’s definitely there, and it forms at least one complete and nigh-perfect circle. SO circular that it almost doesn’t look natural. So circular that that was one of the facts in opposition to the possibility that it was a volcanic structure. It’s right on the Yucatan coast, half-onshore and half-offshore. The circle’s center is a scant couple of miles offshore from a little barrier-island town called Chicxulub Puerto.
More, that same onshore semicircle is fairly filled with cenotes―vertical sinkholes down into what are usually water-filled caves. But the cenotes occur ONLY ALONG or OUTSIDE the semicircle; there are only a scant handful within it. There is also a broken outer semicircle of cenotes which parallels the main semicircle. All of these structures are likely to be due to the shock wave passage from impact.
As for the boundary layer clay, ONLY the clay shows high abundances of iridium; it is scarcely found above or below the boundary. And it’s fairly uniform in its abundances around the planet.
In addition, within the anomaly ring are found vast quantities of material showing evidence of a sudden shock, high temperatures, high pressures, or all of the above. These materials include:
- Volcanic breccias―broken rock fragments cemented together by melted rock.
- Shock-metamorphic material―material distorted and chemically changed by the high temperatures and pressures generated by the shock wave.
- Shatter cones―three-dimensional, branched, fan-shaped fractures in rock caused by high pressure.
- Shocked quartz―quartz whose crystalline structure has been deformed as a result of extreme pressure.
- Brazil twinning―“Conjoined-twin” quartz crystals, where two crystals share part of the crystalline lattice.
- Tektites―impact glass, a kind of obsidian produced by the melting of the impactor and crater material, and then ejected. It rapidly cools in atmosphere, forming glass particles, usually in aerodynamic shapes such as teardrops.
- Osmium―like the iridium, the osmium isotopic ratios in the clay layer have cosmic abundances.
- High concentrations of soot at the boundary layer.
All this was found roughly in the first decade after the Alvarez paper.
BUT WAIT! THERE’S MORE! as the commercials say.
Also found in the boundary layer:
- Shocked zircon crystals, deficient in lead (likely from being vaporized in the impact.
- High concentrations of tiny diamonds.
- C60, aka Buckminsterfullerene, was mixed in with the soot at several sites.
Meanwhile, in the core samples from the crater, scientists have found:
- Pink granite, of a type normally found deep in the crust.
What they did NOT find in the core samples:
- Gypsum. Since it’s a sulfate mineral, it was probably vaporized and ejected into the atmosphere.
So when you start to analyze all the clues, it boils down to several descriptors. Whatever happened, happened suddenly, generated extremely high temperatures and pressures, and carried cosmic isotopic abundances of elements that otherwise tend to be rare on Earth.
And that all points to an impact.
Next up: the impactor.
For more details, check out INCOMING! The Chicxulub Impactor by Stephanie Osborn on Kindle and Nook.
AND CHECK OUT STEPHANIE’S FICTION TOO!
After months of “playing target,” the heads of the Alpha Line special forces department, Alpha One—Agents Echo and Omega—finally take a very special vacation on Tiniken, the “Eden planet,” for some much-needed R&R. The pair kick back, relax, and play tourist, exploring this lovely alien world together.
But when they unwittingly cross paths with a Cortian slave ring and the Cortians recognize Echo as “Cortian Enemy Number One,” he becomes their next target, and “Eden” displays a seamier side. Can Omega and the rest of Alpha Line find Echo before he is sold as a slave… or worse?