A Meteor in Mérida

December 14, 2009

One of the most well known debates in science is over what caused the extinction of the dinosaurs. At the time of the extinction about 65 million years ago, dinosaurs weren’t the only creatures to perish: scientists estimate that over 70% of all life on earth came to an end. Explanations for the extinction were for many years provided by two competing theories: One; that the global affects of either increased volcanism, or two; the effects of a large object impact created conditions too harsh for most life on earth.

The Chicxulub Crater
In 1978, a geophysicist working for Petroleos Mexicanos (PEMEX, the Mexican state-owned oil company) discovered a huge underwater “arc” with its ends pointing south, in the Caribbean Sea off the Yucatan. When the geophysicist compared this finding with an earlier survey of the Yucatan that had been made in the 1960s he found another arc, but this one was on the Yucatan itself, and its ends pointed north. He matched up the two maps and found that the two arcs joined up in a neat circle, 180 kilometers (112 miles) wide, with its center at Puerto Chicxulub (Chicxulub), which is a small coastal village about an hour north of Mérida. This underground ‘circle’ was in fact the perimeter of a giant crater that had been formed millions of years earlier.

Travelers to Merida will get to explore Cenotes, part of the remnant geological formations leftover from the Chicxulub impact crater.

See the full story here: http://www.casalabarenda.com/nationalgeographic.html

Chicxulub Crater

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