Scientists Reconstruct Massive Ancient Impact On Earth

Scientists around the globe have banded together to solve the mystery of a place known as Barberton greenstone belt in South Africa where a 300 mile wide portion appeared to be a giant crater. Today they announced their findings which blew the minds of people across the globe. If you thought the dinosaurs had it bad, be glad you weren’t born a cyanobacteria, because things were a whole lot worse back then when nature came knocking on the surface of our planet.

On what was probably a nice, sunny day for single-celled ocean bacteria just learning to soak up the sun’s rays, a giant cloud casts shadows down over that ocean. Moments later the ground begins to shake and seconds after that all your cyanobacteria buddies that had floated near the surface to get some good tan on are vaporized, and little cellular you boil out of existence shortly thereafter. That is what happened some 3.26 billion years ago when a 36 mile wide asteroid brought Armageddon to nearly all life at the time. It was traveling at 12 miles per second and took out an area comparable to the distance between New York City and Washington D.C. From the moment of impact and for at least thirty minutes later, every bit of landmass on the planet shook with a mega-earthquake. Gasses like oxygen and hydrogen in the atmosphere burst into flames and tsunamis thousands of miles deep washed over every portion of the land from every ocean on the globe. The weeks and months that followed were much like what Noah must have seen during his flood, had he been in Hell during the time.

‘We knew it was big, but we didn’t know how big,’ confessed Stanford geologist and co-author of the study, Donald Lowe, when speaking about the insidious killer rock.

This image shows the comparison of the asteroid compared to the one that killed off the dinosaurs as well as the tallest mountain on Earth, Mt. Everest.

To help you grasp the scope of just how devastating this single impact was on our planet, consider that the asteroid that took out the dinosaurs put out a billion times more energy than the two bombs dropped on Japan combined. Now that you have that image in your mind, make it bigger. Six times bigger. Pretty frightening to think about, isn’t it? But scary as it may be, that is what scientists have had on their mind for a long time now, only now they have all the evidence they need to delve even deeper into the past by using this enormous crater, barely visible today, as a guide to look for more. And they are bound to find them.

‘We can’t go to the impact sites. In order to better understand how big it was and its effect we need studies like this,’ Lowe stated.

This whopper of an asteroid came during a time known as the Late Heavy Bombardment period, where remnants of failed planets and other fragments of space rock batter our planet rather often, though this one was by far one of the most catastrophic. So much so that scientists pose this very impact as a possible cause for the Earth’s tectonic plates. That’s one mighty bell-ringer.

‘This is providing significant support for the idea that the impact may have been responsible for this major shift in tectonics,’ said Frank Kyte, a UCLA geologist who was not involved in the asteroid study.

Fortunately for we humans, asteroid impacts like this one are so rare, we will probably never see one as a species. especially if you believe in evolution. Jay Melosh from Purdue University in Indiana was happy to let us know that an asteroid this large hasn’t come our way for at least a billion years, and chances are good that it will be at least another billion or so before another one stops by to play.

How soon before we can expect another asteroid to target us? Inquisitr’s Patrick Frye is digging up the details:

Then again, why look for an asteroid when NASA plans to bring one to us?