November 29, 2023

Dinosaur-Killing Asteroid Triggered Monstrous Global Tsunami With Mile-High Waves

Optimum tsunami wave amplitude following the asteroid impact 66 million years back. Credit: From Range et al. in AGU Advances, 2022
Sixty-six million years ago a miles-wide asteroid struck Earth, cleaning out nearly all the dinosaurs and around three-quarters of the worlds plant and animal species.
It likewise triggered a monstrous tsunami with mile-high waves that scoured the ocean flooring thousands of miles from the impact site on Mexicos Yucatan Peninsula, according to a new University of Michigan-led research study that was released online on October 4 in the journal AGU Advances.
The research study provides the first worldwide simulation of the Chicxulub impact tsunami to be released in a peer-reviewed clinical journal. Additionally, U-M scientists examined the geological record at more than 100 sites worldwide and discovered proof that supports their models predictions about the tsunamis course and power.

” This tsunami was strong enough to disrupt and deteriorate sediments in ocean basins halfway around the globe, leaving either a space in the sedimentary records or a jumble of older sediments,” stated lead author Molly Range. She carried out the modeling study for a masters thesis under U-M physical oceanographer and study co-author Brian Arbic and U-M paleoceanographer and research study co-author Ted Moore.

Energy effect
The analysis of the geological record concentrated on “boundary areas.” These are marine sediments transferred just prior to or just after the asteroid effect and the subsequent Cretaceous– Paleogene (K-Pg) mass extinction, which closed the Cretaceous Period.
” The distribution of the erosion and hiatuses that we observed in the uppermost Cretaceous marine sediments are constant with our design results, which offers us more confidence in the model predictions,” said Range, who began the project as an undergraduate in Arbics lab in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences.
According to the studys calculations, the initial energy in the effect tsunami was up to 30,000 times bigger than the energy in the December 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake tsunami. That one is among the largest tsunamis in the contemporary record and eliminated more than 230,000 people.
Modeled tsunami sea-surface height perturbation, in meters, four hours after the asteroid impact. This image shows results from the MOM6 design, one of 2 tsunami-propagation designs used in the University of Michigan-led research study. Credit: From Range et al. in AGU Advances, 2022
The scientists simulations show that the effect tsunami radiated generally to the east and northeast into the North Atlantic Ocean, and to the southwest into the South Pacific Ocean through the Central American Seaway (which utilized to separate North America and South America).
In those basins and in some adjacent locations, underwater current speeds most likely surpassed 20 centimeters per second (0.4 mph),. This speed is powerful enough to deteriorate fine-grained sediments on the seafloor.
On the other hand, the South Atlantic, the North Pacific, the Indian Ocean, and the area that is today the Mediterranean were largely shielded from the greatest results of the tsunami, according to the groups simulation. In those places, the modeled current speeds were likely less than the 20 cm/sec threshold.
Geological corroboration
U-Ms Moore analyzed published records of 165 marine limit areas for the review of the geological record. He had the ability to get functional information from 120 of them. The majority of the sediments originated from cores gathered during scientific ocean-drilling tasks.
The North Atlantic and South Pacific had the fewest places with total, undisturbed K-Pg boundary sediments. In contrast, the biggest variety of complete K-Pg limit areas were uncovered in the South Atlantic, the North Pacific, the Indian Ocean, and the Mediterranean.
Designed tsunami sea-surface height perturbation, in meters, 24 hr after the asteroid effect. This image shows arise from the MOM6 design, one of two tsunami-propagation designs used in the University of Michigan-led research study. Credit: From Range et al. in AGU Advances, 2022
” We found corroboration in the geological record for the anticipated locations of optimum effect outdoors ocean,” said Arbic. He is a teacher of earth and ecological sciences and manage the task. “The geological evidence absolutely strengthens the paper.”
Of unique significance, according to the authors, are outcrops of the K-Pg limit on the eastern coasts of New Zealands north and south islands, which are more than 7,500 miles (12,000 kilometers) from the Yucatan impact site.
The insufficient and heavily disturbed New Zealand sediments, called olistostromal deposits, were originally believed to be the outcome of regional tectonic activity. Offered the age of the deposits and their place straight in the modeled pathway of the Chicxulub impact tsunami, the U-M-led group of researchers believes a different origin.
” We feel these deposits are taping the impacts of the effect tsunami, and this is maybe the most telling verification of the global significance of this event,” Range stated.
Comparing designs
The modeling part of the study utilized a two-stage technique. Initially, a large computer program called a hydrocode simulated the chaotic very first 10 minutes of the event. This included the asteroid impact, crater formation, and initiation of the tsunami. That work was conducted by co-author Brandon Johnson of Purdue University.
Based on the findings of previous research studies, the scientists designed an asteroid that was 8.7 miles (14 kilometers) in diameter, moving at 27,000 mph (12 kilometers per second). It struck granitic crust overlain by thick sediments and shallow ocean waters, blasting an around 62-mile-wide (100-kilometer-wide) crater and ejecting dense clouds of soot and dust into the environment.
Maximum tsunami wave amplitude, in centimeters, following the asteroid effect 66 million years earlier. Credit: From Range et al. in AGU Advances, 2022
2 and a half minutes after the asteroid struck, a curtain of ejected product pushed a wall of water outside from the impact site, briefly forming a 2.8-mile-high (4.5-kilometer-high) wave that went away as the ejecta fell back to Earth.
According to the U-M simulation, 10 minutes after the projectile hit the Yucatan, and 137 miles (220 kilometers) from the point of effect, a 0.93-mile-high (1.5-kilometer-high) tsunami wave– outward-propagating and ring-shaped– began sweeping throughout the ocean in all directions.
At the 10-minute mark, the results of Johnsons iSALE hydrocode simulations were gotten in into two tsunami-propagation models, MOM6 and MOST, to track the giant waves throughout the ocean. MOM6 has been used to design tsunamis in the deep ocean, and NOAA utilizes one of the most design operationally for tsunami projections at its Tsunami Warning Centers.
” The big outcome here is that two international designs with varying solutions provided nearly similar results, and the geologic information on insufficient and total areas are constant with those outcomes,” said Moore, professor emeritus of earth and environmental sciences. “The models and the confirmation information match nicely.”
According to the teams simulation:

Significant wave heights
For the current study, the research team did not attempt to estimate the degree of seaside flooding brought on by the tsunami.
Their models show that open-ocean wave heights in the Gulf of Mexico would have gone beyond 328 feet (100 meters), with wave heights of more than 32.8 feet (10 meters) as the tsunami approached North Atlantic coastal regions and parts of South Americas Pacific coast.
As the tsunami neared those coastlines and experienced shallow bottom waters, wave heights would have increased drastically through a process called shoaling. Current speeds would have surpassed the 0.4 miles per hour (20 centimeters per second) threshold for most coastal areas worldwide.
” Depending on the geometries of the coast and the advancing waves, many coastal areas would be flooded and eroded to some level,” according to the scientists. “Any traditionally recorded tsunamis pale in contrast with such international effect.”
The follow-up
Arbic stated that a follow-up study is prepared to design the degree of seaside inundation worldwide. That study will be led by Vasily Titov of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administrations Pacific Marine Environmental Lab, who is a co-author of the AGU Advances paper.
Reference: “The Chicxulub Impact Produced a Powerful Global Tsunami” by Molly M. Range, Brian K. Arbic, Brandon C. Johnson, Theodore C. Moore, Vasily Titov, Alistair J. Adcroft, Joseph K. Ansong, Christopher J. Hollis, Jeroen Ritsema, Christopher R. Scotese and He Wang, 4 October 2022, AGU Advances.DOI: 10.1029/ 2021AV000627.
In addition to Range, Arbic, Moore, Johnson and Titov, the study authors are Alistair Adcroft of Princeton University, Joseph Ansong of the University of Ghana, Christopher Hollis of Victoria University of Wellington, Jeroen Ritsema of the University of Michigan, Christopher Scotese of the PALEOMAP Project, and He Wang of NOAAs Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory and the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research.
Funding was provided by the National Science Foundation and the University of Michigan Associate Professor Support Fund, which is supported by the Margaret and Herman Sokol Faculty Awards. The MOM6 simulations were performed on the Flux supercomputer provided by the University of Michigan Advanced Research Computing Technical Services.

One hour after effect, the tsunami had spread out outside the Gulf of Mexico and into the North Atlantic.
Four hours after effect, the waves had actually gone through the Central American Seaway and into the Pacific.
Twenty-four hours after impact, the waves had crossed the majority of the Pacific from the east and most of the Atlantic from the west and went into the Indian Ocean from both sides.
By 48 hours after impact, substantial tsunami waves had actually reached the majority of the worlds coastlines.

Modeled tsunami sea-surface height perturbation, in meters, 4 hours after the asteroid effect. This image reveals outcomes from the MOM6 model, one of 2 tsunami-propagation designs used in the University of Michigan-led research study. Designed tsunami sea-surface height perturbation, in meters, 24 hours after the asteroid impact.” We discovered corroboration in the geological record for the predicted locations of maximal effect in the open ocean,” stated Arbic. This consisted of the asteroid impact, crater formation, and initiation of the tsunami.