Thursday, July 31, 2008

Small comet has huge impact 13,000 years ago

A comet just one mile in diameter probably exploded above what is now Canada 13,000 years ago leading to more than a spectacular light show, according to a write up at The Future of Things (via Slashdot).

The initial blast would have created a “massive shock wave” that would have led to a chain reaction of explosions equivalent to atomic bombs exploding. Most of the northern hemisphere, scientists theorize, would have been in flames. The destruction would have wiped out animals including mastodons and vaporized human cultures. What’s more, the event would have “lengthened the Ice Age that should have been coming to an end… disrupting the development of emerging civilizations in Europe and Asia.”

The evidence: “a layer of microscopic diamonds” found at locations across the Northern Hemisphere in the geologic record. These diamonds, experts believe, are the remains of a “carbon rich comet.”

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