Colossal Tsunami “Megaripples” Show the Extent of the Devastation Provoked By the Chicxulub Asteroid

Colossal Tsunami “Megaripples” Show the Extent of the Devastation Provoked By the Chicxulub Asteroid

Approximately 66 million years ago, an asteroid impacted our planet in what is often dubbed as the most dramatic mass extinction event in the planet’s history.

The collision eradicated about 75% of all living species, including non-avian dinosaurs.

Over the past few years, scientists found numerous traces of the colossal impact and its aftermath, which consisted of encircling dust and wildfires of up to 1,500 kilometres (about 930 miles) from the impact site.

In 2019, a team discovered fossil records of the follow-up hours, including evidence of debris being carried away by the resulting tsunami.

The news was made public in an article in ScienceMag.

The aftermath of the tsunami, ripples engraved the surroundings with a fine coat of air-fall debris that was formerly chemically linked back to the asteroid’s crater in the Gulf of Mexico, near to what is nowadays’ village of Chixulub on the Yucatan Peninsula.

Gary Kinsland, a geoscientist from the University of Louisiana, stated:

“The water was so deep that once the tsunami had quit, regular storm waves couldn’t disturb what was down there.”

Kinsland and his fellow colleagues discovered the mega ripples by looking into seismic imaging data for central Louisiana, gathered by a fossil fuel company.

They figured out that the imprinted ripple crests form a straight line straight back to the Chicxulub crater, and their orientation is relevant to the impact.

“These megaripple features have average wavelengths of 600 meters and average wave heights of 16 meters making them the largest ripples documented on Earth,” the team mentioned.

Former estimates of the colossal tsunami suggest that its waves would have reached an impressive height of 1,500 meters, which translated to an earthquake of more than 11 on the Richter scale.


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