Found traces of a mega-earthquake that lasted from several weeks to months

About 66 million years ago, a 10-kilometer asteroid hit the Earth, which caused the extinction of the dinosaurs. New

data suggest that the collision withChicxulubom also caused an earthquake so strong that it shook the planet for weeks or months after the impact. The amount of energy released by this "megaquake" is estimated at 1023 J. This is about 50,000 times more energy than was released by the 9.1 magnitude earthquake in Sumatra in 2004.

Herman Bermudez will present evidence of this“megaquakes” at the upcoming Geological Society of America GSA Connects meeting in Denver, USA this Sunday, October 9th. Earlier this year, Bermudez visited the known Cretaceous-Paleogene boundary (K-Pg mass extinction boundary) in Texas, Alabama, and Mississippi to collect data. They complemented his previous work in Colombia and Mexico.

The boundary of the Cretaceous and Paleogene periods -geological structure, usually a thin band of rock. This boundary is at the end of the Cretaceous and marks the beginning of the Paleogene period, the first period of the Cenozoic era.

In 2014, conducting field research onOn the island of Gorgonilla in Colombia, Bermudez found deposits in the form of balls (up to 1.1 mm in size) and fragments of tektites and microtektites. They were thrown into the atmosphere during an asteroid impact. These glass beads were formed when the heat and pressure of the impact melted and dispersed the Earth's crust, ejecting small molten droplets into the atmosphere, which then fell back to the surface as glass under the force of gravity.

Spherical deposits on Gorgonilla Island. Credit: Herman Bermudez

When the scientist studied the deformed layer rich inballs, on the island of Gorgonilla in Colombia, then realized that the seismic activity after the asteroid impact persisted for several weeks or even months after the impact.

The deformed layer, rich in spherules, onGorgonilla Island (Colombia), showing that seismic activity persisted for several weeks or months after the impact. Credit: Herman Bermudez

The site that the scientist discovered on the islandGorgonilla, he called "a fantastic place" to explore the K-Pg border. This is one of the best preserved sites. It is located deep in the ocean, so it was not affected by the tsunami. Evidence of deformation from the megaquake also persisted in Mexico and the United States.

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