We may finally have an answer to what killed dinosaurs

We May Finally Have An Answer To What Killed Dinosaurs
We May Finally Have An Answer To What Killed Dinosaurs

The debate over what killed the dinosaurs, while thankfully giving rise to many Hollywood blockbusters, has often seemed intractable.

Scientists just couldn't agree on whether it was volcanoes or an asteroid impact that killed nearly three-quarters of the world's plant and animal life—but maybe both theories are right.

Researchers from UC Berkeley believe they worked in tandem to kill the dinosaurs; that the asteroid or comet impact intensified already happening—and maybe even ignited new—volcanic eruptions worldwide.

Writing in the journal Science, geologists determined the Deccan Traps lava flows in India doubled the amount of lava they produced within 50,000 years of the impact in Mexico—the one many attribute to ushering in the mass extinction event.

It's possible the Mexican impact could have resulted in something akin to a magnitude 11 earthquake. Even a magnitude 9 earthquake would have likely been felt across the globe.

According to the researchers, such an impact would have been so severe that it would have redirected volcanic flows along with changing their chemical content.

This would have likely produced a noxious and dusty aura around the Earth—inhibiting the recovery of ecosystems for around half a million years—until the volcanoes simmered down.