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Ancient Meteor Blast May Have Caused Extinctions

SANTA BARBARA, Calif., May 24 /Standard Newswire

New scientific findings suggest that a large, extraterrestrial rock may have exploded over North America 13,000 years ago, explaining riddles that scientists have wrestled with for decades, including an abrupt cooling of the atmosphere and the extinction of large mammals. The extraterrestrial rock must have been about five kilometers across, and either exploded in the atmosphere or directly hit the Laurentide ice sheet located in the Northeastern section of North America. Wildfires across the continent would have resulted from the fiery impact, killing off the vegetation that was the food supply of many of the larger mammals like the woolly mammoths, causing them to go extinct. Since the Clovis people of North America hunted the mammoths as a major source of their food, they too were affected by the impact and their culture died out. The scientific team visited over a dozen archaeological sites in North America where they found high concentrations of iridium, an element that is rare on Earth, and is almost exclusively associated with meteors. The team concluded that the impact of the space rock melted a large portion of the Laurentide ice sheet, causing enormous amounts of cool, fresh water to flow into the Atlantic and Arctic Oceans. This would have caused a major disruption of the circulation of warm and cold water in these oceans, leading to a cooler atmosphere and the glaciation of the Younger Dryas period. The scientists found evidence for the impact as far west as the Santa Barbara Channel Islands.

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