Of course, it is generally known what happened 66 million years ago. At a speed of 72 thousand kilometers per hour, a rock with a diameter of twelve kilometers went deep into the ground, where the Mexican Yucatán Peninsula now lies. More than three-quarters of all animal species on Earth, including flightless dinosaurs, did not survive the impact.
But scientists are still in disagreement about what exactly happened after this collision. Dust pollutes the atmosphere, blocks sunlight and makes life on Earth impossible, a popular theory. But paleontologist Melanie During, who recently published a book called The Last Spring of Dinosaurs, thinks differently.
Because even before the dust spread over the Earth, the collision produced an enormous amount of infrared radiation, equivalent to the power of a billion atomic bombs. “You’re dead if you get exposed to that,” he says during. “Unless you’re underground, because you did something stupid like hibernating. Or if you’re underwater, or behind some shelter. Then you’re out of luck.”
This does not mean that dust did not play any role. “If you missed that radiation, and you were still there, the matter would certainly be a disaster. But the probability that you would miss that radiation was small.”
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