Collision gives the Earth a dusting

The Earth was covered with a blanket of dust following the collision of two asteroids, scientists have discovered.
Millions of tons of the fragments rained down on the world following the cosmic catastrophe.
It is the first positive link ever made between an asteroid break-up and a major dramatic event on Earth.
Sediments from beneath the seabed reveal that for 1.5 million years, we were coated with a mass of extraterrestrial dust around 8million years ago.
A high concentration of a rare material callled helium 3 proves it came from space.
Now US and Czech astronomers have traced backwards the orbits of a cluster of asteroids and found that they diverged from one 100-mile wide space rock called Veritas – 8.2million years ago.
Dr David Nesvorny, of Boulder, Colorado, said: “The Veritas disruption was extraordinary. It was the largest asteroid collision to take place in the last 100 million years.”
The blanket of dust caused a cooling of the Earth’s climate, the scientists say.

© Paul Sutherland. Unauthorised reproduction forbidden.

Paul Sutherland

Paul Sutherland

I have been a professional journalist for nearly 40 years. I write regularly for science magazines including BBC Sky at Night magazine, BBC Focus, Astronomy Now and Popular Astronomy. I have also authored three books on astronomy and contributed to others.
Paul Sutherland

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Paul Sutherland

I have been a professional journalist for nearly 40 years. I write regularly for science magazines including BBC Sky at Night magazine, BBC Focus, Astronomy Now and Popular Astronomy. I have also authored three books on astronomy and contributed to others.

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