New Paper!

Trajectories and Distribution of Material Ejected from the Chicxulub Impact Crater:
Implications for Post-Impact Wildfires

David A. Kring and Daniel D. Durda

Journal of Geosphysical Research - Planets

Available from the American Geophysical Union

Below is a movie that shows the spread of wildfires that were generated by the Chicxulub impact event 65 million years ago when large numbers of plants and animals, including dinosaurs, were extinguished.  The fires were generated after debris ejected from the crater was lofted far above the Earth's atmosphere and then rained back down through the atmosphere.  Like countless trillions of meteors, the debris heated the atmosphere and surface temperatures so high that vegetation on the ground spontaneously ignited.  Impact debris racing through the atmosphere was concentrated above the impact site (now Mexico) and the opposite side of the Earth (now the Indian Ocean), where the fires began. The Earth rotated beneath the returning plume of impact ejecta, so that the fires migrated to the west.  Most of the fires were ignited in the first day after the impact, although material continued to fall back into the atmosphere for another 3 days.
 

Movie by Daniel D. Durda - Southwest Research Institute
 

Click here to link to our full page on impact-generated wildfires.
 
 

This web site is based on information originally created for the NASA/UA Space Imagery Centerís Impact Cratering Series.
Concept and content by David A. Kring, Daniel D. Durda and Jake Bailey.
Movie of impact-generated wildfires compiled by Daniel D. Durda.
Design, graphics, and images by Jake Bailey, Daniel D. Durda and David A. Kring.
Any use of the information and images requires permission of the Space Imagery Center and/or David A. Kring (now at LPI).