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Nature: Chixulub impact did not create global wildfires

Posted by tigerhawkvok on February 23, 2009 17:06 in dinosaurs , news , paleontology

An interested news update from Nature today: apparently, the K-T impact's (Chixulub event) [wiki, UCMP] global soot layer was not caused by vegetation, and was probably due to hydrocarbons. That is to say, the impact probably burned sequestered gas and oil.

Impact, artist rendition

The writing was on the wall for the vegetation idea for a few years, since 2003 studies showed a comparative lack of charcoal, which one would expect for global wildfires. This was supplemented by research done by Belcher et al in a PNAS paper showing that polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) ratios match that of burnt hydrocarbons better than that of vegetation. So, no global wildfires. However, it *is* important to note that the massive amount of soot produced itself had a global environmental impact. No matter how you dice it, the K-T event was not a fun time to be around.

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