Scientists have found that a gigantic comet that struck the Earth 12,000 years ago caused incredible devastation.
A new study has found that an absolutely massive comet smashed into the Earth about 12,800 years ago, plunging it into an ice age that last for thousands of years. The comet sent huge volumes of material into the atmosphere, which blocked out the sun and made the planet too cold for most animals and even plants to survive.
While scientists have suspected such an event in the past, this new study provides evidence that it was a comet that triggered the ice age. Scientists based their findings on data from 170 different sites worldwide. The paper also suggests that humans living at that time would have witnessed fires worse than those that killed the dinosaurs.
They believe that the planet was definitely cooled off by the comet, which measured about 62 miles wide, and they think that remnants of that comet are still floating around in our solar system. Scientists examined charcoal and soot from dozens of sites that appear to show a massive biomass burn that happened right around the comet strike.
“On a ho-hum day some 12,800 years ago, the Earth had emerged from another ice age. Things were warming up, and the glaciers had retreated,” reads the statement from the University of Kansas. “Out of nowhere, the sky was lit with fireballs. This was followed by shock waves. Fires rushed across the landscape, and dust clogged the sky, cutting off the sunlight. As the climate rapidly cooled, plants died, food sources were snuffed out, and the glaciers advanced again. Ocean currents shifted, setting the climate into a colder, almost “ice age” state that lasted an additional thousand years.”