A prehistoric tsunami changed the world

When a massive meteorite hit Earth around 65 million years ago, it may have unleashed the most terrifying tsunami of all time.

When a massive meteorite hit Earth around 65 million years ago, it may have unleashed the most terrifying tsunami of all time.

After the collision, glowing gas-mixed rock sand rained down, life conditions on Earth changed completely and the dinosaurs became extinct.

The meteor that hit about 65-66 million years ago is well known as one of the most powerful killers in Earth’s history.

Now, researchers at the University of Michigan have made a sophisticated computer model that shows the violent tsunami caused by the meteorite. The model shows that it has been thousands of times more powerful than the largest tsunamis on record.

“All tsunamis in historical time pale in comparison,” the researchers say in their findings.

Here are the five deadliest tsunamis

1. Indian Ocean, 2004

Cause: Earthquake

Death toll: 230,000

Sicily, Italy, 1908

Cause: Earthquake

Death toll: 75,000

Lisbon, Portugal, 1755

Cause: Earthquake

Death toll: 40-50,000

Krakatau, Indonesia, 1883

Cause: Volcanic eruption

Death toll: 40,000

Tōhoku, Japan, 2011

Cause: Earthquake

Death toll: 18,000

30,000 more energy

This study is one of the first to be conducted on the global impact of this prehistoric tsunami and published in a peer-reviewed journal.

The scientists’ model shows that the tsunami has been powerful enough to change the ocean floor thousands of kilometers away from the impact site on the coast of the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico, and it probably reached a height of 300 meters about an hour after the meteorite hit.

The calculations also show that the destructive power of the tsunami was 30,000 times greater than the destructive power of the famous tsunami that hit the coasts of 14 Indian Ocean states on Boxing Day 2004 and claimed more than 225,000 lives. That tsunami was one of the biggest in history.

See a computer-generated image of the tsunami spreading in the Indian Ocean in 2004

On December 26, Boxing Day in 2004, a tsunami of unprecedented size and force hit 14 countries around the Indian Ocean. At least 226,000 people died. This video shows the journey of the tsunami from the source of the earthquake near Sumatra.

A vertical wall slams on the beaches

To make a realistic assessment of the results of the computer model, the scientists also studied 120 different samples of strata from both before and after the impact of the meteorite.

In this way, evidence was found that the tsunami had reached all the way to where New Zealand is today and that there had been changes in the seabed around half the globe.

The scientists did not specifically examine how high the waves had hit the beaches, but they nevertheless describe how the waves must have risen extremely high when they reached the shallows, where the wave interval is shortened and the water is pressed up into a continuous wall that falls in with great force on the dry land.

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