Incoming: The Chicxulub Impactor, Part 4 ― The Timeline
By Stephanie Osborn
In order to best understand the details of what happened, along with the speed with which they occurred, I thought it made sense to generate a rough timeline of events. With considerable research, judicious estimations, and a bit of calculation, I was able to put together a table that depicts how events would have happened across North America. I lay NO claim to its preciseness; without knowing a great deal more detail than it is currently possible to know, there are a lot of things I just can’t determine.
Note that the primary distance used roughly corresponds with New Orleans, Louisiana, USA (aka NOLA); this is approximately the distance from the tip of the Yucatan Peninsula to the northern coast of the Gulf of Mexico. Also note that, by some researchers’ estimates, no living thing within this radius would have survived the initial impact.
|Time from Impact
|0/000/00:00:00||Impact. The asteroid blasts a crater possibly up to 30mi deep.|
|0/000/00:00:05||The central peak rebounds, temporarily forming a mountain higher than Everest.|
|0/000/00:00:09||Thermal radiation blast; plants spontaneously combust, animals suffer instant 3rd-6th degree burns at NOLA; all life within that radius dies instantly.|
|0/000/00:03:00||The central peak collapses, flooding the crater with lava, which splashes and rebounds from the periphery. The lava splash forms a ring of tall peaks as it solidifies.|
|0/000/00:04:10||Magnitude 10+ earthquake strikes NOLA as the P wave arrives.|
|0/000/00:04:20||Seismic seiches begin to set up in inland waters.|
|0/000/00:05:33||The S wave of quake strikes at NOLA.|
|0/000/00:08:00||Molten ejecta (7500km/hr, 4660mph) begins to fall at NOLA; secondary fires ignite anything that was not burned in the thermal blast; the atmosphere heats back up. An atmospheric shock wave hits NOLA?|
|0/000/00:08:20||The Love & Rayleigh surface waves strike NOLA (total quake duration: ~5-6min minimum).|
|0/000/00:09:00||The atmosphere begins to dim to complete darkness from the combination of rock ash and smoke from fires|
|0/000/00:20:00||Sea water resurges into the crater, over the peak ring, carrying ~130ft (40m) of impactite debris and depositing it across the crater.|
|0/000/01:00:00||The peak ring is breached to the northeast by resurge, and another ~33ft (10m) of impactite is deposited; this layer is more rounded and size-graded (sorted), indicating it has traveled further through turbulent flow.|
|0/000/01:10:00||First megatsunami strikes NOLA.|
|0/000/01:40:00||Ejecta could reach the opposite side of Earth. Fires may ignite world-wide.|
|0/000/02:00:00||Ejecta ceases falling at NOLA.|
|0/000/02:30:00||Secondary mega-tsunamis (from underwater landslides) begin to strike NOLA.|
|0/000/03:00:00||The sky gradually lightens to twilight levels; Earth starts to enter a “nuclear winter.” Scientists estimate that the “nuclear winter” effect dropped global temperatures by as much as 30°F (~17°C), for anywhere from a year to decades.|
|0/000/05:00:00||Acid rain begins to fall at NOLA.|
|0/000/06:00:00||Smallest animals begin to suffer silicosis from ash inhalation, far away from the impact site.|
|0/007/00:00:00||The first animals begin to die of secondary effects (silicosis, injury).|
|0/040/00:00:00||The first animals begin to die of starvation.|
|1-50/000/00:00:00||“Nuclear winter” ends. The atmosphere begins to clear; temperatures begin to warm toward the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum.|
|200,000/000/00:00:00||Temperatures begin to cool from the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum.|
For more details, check out INCOMING! The Chicxulub Impactor by Stephanie Osborn on Kindle and Nook.
And check out Stephanie’s fiction, also!