It is believed that something catastrophic happened on Earth as the planet was approaching the end of the ice age. A massive comet fragmented which led to the fragments striking the planet, which caused a huge firestorm to break out. The sky was filled with dust clouds which were created from the fire. An international team of scientists studied what happened during that time period and their findings suggest that the massive comet impact led to the mini ice age on Earth.
Before they reached this hypothesis, the international team of researchers conducted a study and examined various samples of rock and other deposits which were collected at 170 different locations around the world, and they were associated with the massive comet impact, and what is potentially believed to be the mini ice age.
“The hypothesis is that a large comet fragmented and the chunks impacted the Earth, causing this disaster,” Adrian Melott, study author and emeritus astrophysics professor at The University of Kansas, said in a statement. “A number of different chemical signatures—carbon dioxide, nitrate, ammonia and others—all seem to indicate that an astonishing 10 percent of the Earth’s land surface, or about 10 million square kilometers, was consumed by fires.”
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The research was so large that the researchers had to split it into two parts, published in the journal of Geology: “Extraordinary Biomass-Burning Episode and Impact Winter Triggered by the Younger Dryas Cosmic Impact ~12,800 Years Ago” which is divided into “Part I: Ice Cores and Glaciers” and “Part 2: Lake, Marine, and Terrestrial Sediments.”
Melott and his colleague broke their work into two separate studies and both studies concluded that the fragments of the comet, which struck the planet about 13,000 years ago, are even today floating around in the solar system.
“The work includes measurements made at more than 170 different sites across the world,” Melott said in a statement.
The researchers didn’t only examine rocks and glaciers, but they also referred to pollen examination. They used the pollen levels to determine that the fire managed to burn acres of pine forests, later replaced with poplar trees which colonized the open land.
The massive comet impact affected other types of plants and food, which caused humans to seek out new conditions, and new food sources. They had to adapt to cruel conditions.
“Computations suggest that the impact would have depleted the ozone layer, causing increases in skin cancer and other negative health effects,” Melott said. “The impact hypothesis is still a hypothesis, but this study provides a massive amount of evidence, which we argue can only be all explained by a major cosmic impact.”
Researchers previously suggested that a comet impact had triggered the mini ice age on Earth. The latest two studies give more details on it, and how it reflected on nature and human life on Earth.