Thursday, January 18, 2018

Yes, We Can Survive A Deadly Asteroid Impact Just As Our Early Ancestors Did

Today we'll be strolling the sunny side of the street.
Seriously. If you have a giant shadow pass over you at high speed, well....*

From Forbes:
There is new evidence that our early ancestors survived a kilometer-sized asteroid impact in Southeast Asia. The asteroid, which hit Earth around 800,000 years ago, was powerful enough to launch debris and dust across Earth's surface.

This asteroid impact is the most recent of this magnitude and provides a glimpse into the ability of early human ancestors to withstand an extinction level impact. While the exact location of the impact crater has not been found, scientists are honing in on the location through careful examination of telltale fragments from an asteroid impact.

The asteroid was large enough to impact human evolution in Southeast Asia and alter Earth's climate and block out the sun for up to years after the event. The kilometer-sized asteroid left behind strange mineral and rock alterations caused by sudden extreme pressures and temperatures. Scientists can use these altered rocks, called tektites, as telltale signs of an asteroid impact. The research team studied zircons within the tektites and found that the crystals were oriented at 90-degree angles, compared to all oriented in one direction for non-impact zircons.

Tektites are small glassy fragments that are ejected during a meteorite impact. Geologist Aaron Cavosie and his colleagues at Curtin University sought out tektites around Southeast Asia in hopes they could trace them back to the impact origin.

While remains from this asteroid impact 800,000 years ago have been found previously, scientists haven't been able to zone in on the location of the impact. Tektites have been found across Asia, Australia and as far away as Antarctica. The size distribution of the tektites was used to determine the impact was in Southeast Asia, perhaps near Thailand. The assumption is that larger tektites, which were found to weigh up to 20 kilograms, would be closer to the asteroid impact site....MORE

Did I mention "‘Potentially hazardous’ asteroid the size of the Burj Khalifa is heading towards Earth at 67,000mph"