A team of researchers started a new analysis on the atmospheric conditions resulted after the demise of dinosaurs, and brought out a new theory on the cause of their extinction. They knew the asteroid crash left the entire world covered in a dark cloud, but it might have been a lot colder than we would think. The new observations indicate the collision brought a nuclear winter over Earth.
The asteroid which killed the dinosaurs released a lot more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere
About 66 million years ago, a deadly asteroid crashed into Earth, and brought the extinction of over 75 percent of all life forms existent on the planet, including dinosaurs. This happened as the asteroid released a huge amount of lethal gases in the atmosphere, such as carbon dioxide or sulfurs.
Now, researchers decided to reassess the levels of these gases which went into the atmosphere as the moment of the impact. The results showed there had been a lot more deadly gases than the first figures indicated, meaning that Earth had reached a much lower temperature than we believed.
Earth was engulfed in a nuclear winter
When the asteroid reached the surface of Earth, the shock which passed through it cause the sediments to vaporize, and get converted into gases. The initial measurements suggested a quantity of 425 gigatons of carbon dioxide and 325 gigatons of sulfur which ended up in the atmosphere. However, a lot more of the gases were released and trapped beneath the atmosphere.
We already know carbon dioxide exhibits a strong warming effect. However, sulfur does exactly the opposite, and these higher quantities must have caused a lot more cooling than we had previously assumed. Therefore, this was enough to cause a nuclear winter. The cloud surrounded the planet got so thick that the planet was engulfed in complete darkness for several years. This means the plants received no light, and the entire planet cooled down by 50 degrees Fahrenheit.