Brad Balak Astronomy Lab

11/23/2009 Lab 2 Research Paper

Of Dinosaurs and Differing Means of Death It is a well-known and widely-accepted theory that a giant impact millions of years ago may have killed the dinosaurs, and most life on earth. Believers and nonbelievers argue over whether the event happened at all, and if you further subdivide the group of believers, you will undoubtedly run into more arguments. Most of these arguments address the size of the impacting body, the specific time period of the event, and where it may have occurred. There is a general consensus that according to the discoveries in the 1980¶s of the father-son team of Luis and Walter Alvarez, there is a ³K-T boundary´ layer of the earth that holds a high concentration of iridium, which was deposited there by a large asteroid (as iridium is fairly uncommon on earth). This boundary would confirm the presence of a large asteroid impact, and validate the possibility of this theory. The earth¶s crust contains an average of about .3 ppb (parts per billion) of iridium. Some samples taken from the K-T boundary in Wyoming were found to have over 500 times that amount. This makes a very strong argument for the possibility of a highly iridium-concentrated asteroid impacting earth, burning itself up in the process of entry and impact, and depositing it¶s iridium-laden particles all over the earth in a single layer of earth¶s crust specific to a certain time period. Let us assume that this very basic research is to be taken for absolute truth, to further investigate the impact. If we are out to seek evidence of this event, the best place to go would logically be the site of the impact. An impact so devastating that most life on earth ceased to exist must have an enormous crater. Most Americans are aware that there is a meteor crater in Arizona, and it is rather large. However impressive this may be, the Barringer Meteor Crater is only about a mile wide in diameter. It is widely agreed upon in the scientific community that the meteorite that created this crater was about 50m (150 ft) in diameter, and although this impact may have affected the area surrounding it for a short while, it was not even close to being able to produce the amount of iridum required to be visible in such quantities as in the K-T boundary. A time period also needs to be addressed in order to find the correct impact location. There are many known meteor craters on planet earth, but we need to limit our scope to one that can be dated to the iridium layer in the K-T boundary. According to the research that the Alvarez team has done, the iridium layer was laid down around the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary. This timeline is dated to approximately 65.5 million years ago. This eliminates other large craters such as the Vredefort Crater in South Africa (2 billion years ago), the Sudbury Basin and Manicouagan Craters in Canada (1.85 billion, and 214 million years ago, respectively), and the Popigai Crater in Russia (35.7 million years old). The only other crater larger than 100km in diameter that was created around

which is formed by the earth¶s crust rushing back upwards from the outward impact of the area surrounding the meteorite. There are findings which say the K-T boundary at that site is up to a meter thick. and nuclear bombs have been detonated. Many members of the scientific community cannot agree on whether the ³Shiva Crater´ is indeed a true crater. or impact site. Also of note is the granite content of the immediate area. producing waves that create an outer ³rim´. Nonetheless. located near the Yucatan peninsula. is located beneath the surface of the ocean. He has just recently presented (October 2009) his research at the Annual Meeting of the Geological Society of America in Portland. This research suggests that the Shiva Crater happened approximately 300. then watch as the water forms the single ³splash´ droplet that seems to come from underneath the water like a spring. and was much larger than the Chicxulub event. A good way to picture a central uplift would be to drop a single droplet of water into a bucket. There is a geographic anomaly that lies under the Indian Ocean that is commonly referred to in scientific circles as the ³Shiva Crater´.000 years after the Chicxulub impact. The impact itself is around 170km in diameter (102 miles). The central uplift is an area of an impact usually at the center of a crater that resembles a steep pinnacle. This presentation of information tends to sway some believers of the ³single impact theory´ towards a ³multiple impact theory´. this impact site has always been the one thought to be (by believers of the impact theory) the main one responsible for the extinction of the dinosaurs. That central ³splash´ is the central uplift. and imagine you are watching a high-speed camera as the droplet enters the main body. which indicates an impact site due to excess material from the crust being torn up at impact and redeposited in the immediate vicinity shortly thereafter. This ³shocked quartz´ is found in areas where other meteorite impacts have occurred. after the Hindu god of destruction and renewal. Some suggested findings also indicate the presence of ³shocked quartz´. including myself. Shiva. . This name was appointed to this supposed impact site by a paleontologist named Dr Sankar Chatterjee. in-depth research to support this theory until recently. which is quartz that is formed differently because of an immediate change in pressure in the area surrounding the rock. but there has not been widely available. The meteor that created this impact is thought to be approximately 10km (6 miles) in diameter. Some people also believe there may have been a larger impact on earth around the same timeframe. This makes sampling and visually forming the crater much tougher than its brethren.Brad Balak Astronomy Lab 11/23/2009 Lab 2 Research Paper 65. The Chicxulub crater. unlike the other craters mentioned earlier. with the exception of the central uplift. Oregon.5 million years ago is the Chicxulub crater in Mexico.

heliocentric manuscripts and written teachings were banned in the Roman Catholic Church. and will further our learning of how the dinosaurs came to become extinct. The Shiva Crater is by no means a teaching that is banned. and would have had an impact on the immediate area around it. has not been proven before. if already considered. but nothing that would cause mass extinction of a species. and created the granite-rich central uplift. near the supposed central uplift. there has not been a proper ³peer review´ of Dr Chatterjee¶s recently presented ³Shiva Crater´ theory. perhaps as there is much credibility to lose for those who support the single-impact theory.Brad Balak Astronomy Lab 11/23/2009 Lab 2 Research Paper The central uplift in meteor craters is formed when the ground liquefies from the immense heat dissipated from impact. and all the ground from the rim formed by the shockwave of the initial impact in a sort of ³resonance vibration´ rushes towards the actual impact site. creating massive molten pinnacle made up of the ground around it. given that the research has been correctly carried out. or. scientific personnel have been discredited by their peers and governing bodies when it comes to announcing possible discoveries or theories that do not mesh with their own. . The theory that multiple impacts caused the demise of the dinosaurs is highly probable. There are many skeptics regarding this topic. let alone hundreds of species. This crater is approximately 24km in diameter (16 miles). There have been several other impacts in earth¶s (relatively) short history that fit the margin of error timeline for the K-T boundary. the only other major impact other than Chicxulub and Shiva being the Boltysh Crater in Ukraine. and even more so for people who don¶t support any sort of ³mass extinction´ idea whatsoever. This suggests that the meteor impacted earth. the ground liquefied. rushed to the center of the impact site. From 1633 to 1758. The rest of the material was caught in this immense explosion and rained down in the area surrounding the impact. then it has the possibility of gaining attention in the general populace. but it is overwhelming to think of a possible AND probable explanation that hasn¶t been considered. Despite all the negative effects that the sanctions brought upon the scientists themselves. At the center of this large area. Think of the catholic church and their decree to ban Galileo Galilei from teaching heliocentric theory as anything other than a ³hypothesis´. it brought attention to the science and theories behind ideas. there is another concentration of granite. as there is a granite layer in the earth¶s crust that is present in all but a large area (about 400km by 600km). To date. Perhaps if the ³Shiva Crater Theory´ is met with strong opposition. This is a very important argument when bringing up the status of the Shiva Crater. Throughout history.

wikipedia.568625.wikipedia.geosociety.ttu.geologytimes.htm http://www.htm http://www.html .org/wiki/Chicxulub_Crater http://en.00.geosociety.Brad Balak Astronomy Lab 11/23/2009 Lab 2 Research Paper Sources: http://en.depts.

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