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Geologists Discover New Way of Estimating Size and Frequency of Meteorite Impacts - Windows to the Universe

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Geologists have discovered a new way of estimating the size of impacts from meteorites.
Courtesy of NASA

Scientists Discover New Way of Estimating the Size of Meteorites
News story originally written on April 11, 2008

Scientists have developed a new way of learning more about meteorites that have crashed into the Earth. When a meteorite hits the Earth, some of it dissolves and is deposited where it lands. If it lands in the ocean, parts of the meteorite mix with the ocean water very quickly and eventually settle into deep-sea sediments. Scientists can collect samples of the sediments many years later and learn about the meteorites that hit the Earth in the past.

By studying deep-sea sediments, scientists have learned that the size of the meteorite that likely crashed into Earth 65 million years ago was four to six kilometers across. Scientists believe this meteorite was the cause of the mass extinction of dinosaurs and other forms of life. One of the scientists involved in this study, François Paquay, said that this new technique will allow scientists to learn more about many other meteorites that have hit the Earth.

Last modified April 28, 2008 by Becca Hatheway.

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