Collision with large comet caused ice age on Earth 13,000 years ago
Researchers have found evidence that a massive comet may have triggered significant climatic shifts on Earth 13,000 years ago.
LAWRENCE, KANSAS — Scientists have found evidence that a huge event may have caused a climate shift that affected the evolution of life on Earth.
Newsweek reports that according to a new two-part study published in the Journal of Geology, fragments of a large, disintegrating comet struck Earth and triggered a massive firestorm some 12,800 years ago.
The fires produced thick clouds of smoke and dust that covered the sky and cut off sunlight, causing the climate to cool rapidly and triggering a mini ice age.
The cold climate lasted for a thousand years, killing off plants and many large animal species, and causing human populations to decline.
Researchers came up with the impact theory after examining samples from 170 sites around the world, with chemical signatures indicating that 10% of the land surface was on fire.
Analysis of pollen levels also suggests that pine forests had burned off and been replaced by poplar trees, a species that grows in barren ground.
The theory is theorized to be the trigger event for the Younger Dryas period, a climate anomaly which saw gradual warming suddenly reverse.
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