Was Earth Struck By Multiple ET Impacts 65 Million Years Ago? New Discoveries Say “Yes”

SL_9 The massive multiple collisions of Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 with Jupiter in 1994  (image) over a period of a few days has a parallel in the ancient, pre-historic history of Earth.

Several impact craters found in Ukraine, ranging from 350 to 65 million years old could be part of explaining Dinosaur extinction around 65 millions of years ago. The impacts play an important role in understanding the frequencies of asteroid impacts to earth, as well as understanding the critical K/T boundary and associated layers in our geological history.

At least two of the identified impact craters in Ukraine seem to be linked to the age of mass extinction on earth happened around 65 million years ago -the age of the K/T boundary found around the world as well.

The most important impact was the Boltysh Crater in the Kirovohrad Oblast province of Ukraine.The crater is 24 km in diameter and its age of 65.17 ± 0.64 million years, based on argon dating techniques, is within error of that of Chicxulub Crater in Mexico, and the KT boundary. The Chicxulub impact is believed to have caused the mass extinction at the end of the Cretaceous era, which included the extinction of the dinosaurs.

Several other impact craters around the world in addition to the Boltysh have estimated ages of about 65 million years, leading to the suggestion that the Earth was struck by multiple asteroid impacts at that time.

It is estimated that immediately after the Boltysh impact, ejecta covered an area of 25,000 km² to a depth of 1 meter or greater, and was some 600 meter deep at the crater rim. The crater is not visible on satellite pictures as it is part of agricultural land today and covered with sediments.

The crater contains a central uplift about 6 km in diameter, rising about 550 m above the base level of the crater. This uplift currently lies beneath about 500 m of sediment deposited since the impact, and was discovered in the 1960s during oil exploration.

Although the ages derived for Chicxulub and Boltysh are the same to within their statistical errors, it does not necessarily follow that they formed at exactly the same time. At the estimated rate of impacts on the Earth, it would not be extremely unusual for a Boltysh-sized crater to be formed within half a million years of Chicxulub. The dating of these impact craters is not yet accurate enough to establish whether the asteroids arrived thousands of years apart, perhaps as part of a generally elevated rate of impacts at that time, or were almost simultaneous, like the impacts of the fragments of Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 on Jupiter in 1994.

The discovery of the unconfirmed Silverpit crater and the early report of its age as 65 – 60 million years initially gave greater weight to the hypothesis that the Earth was struck by multiple asteroids at this time, however, the age estimate has now been broadened to 74 – 45 million years.

One hundred and two core boxes containing over 400m of core from the Bolytsh impact crater in the Ukraine have arrived in Aberdeen as part of the NERC funded project into the environmental effects that resulted from this 65 million year old impact crater. Core recovery is over 95%, providing the team with a near complete geological record starting from the impact rocks of the crater floor through nearly 400 meters of sediments from the lake that filled the crater after the impact.

Seleny Gai impact crater just south of the Bolytsh crater is of 80 million +/- 20 million years old, so it could be part of the multiple impact event where Bolytsh belongs.

Jason McManus via spyderlinks.net

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