Numerical Analysis of The Chicxulub Asteroid Event Aftermath will Help Predict Tsunami ImpactNumerical Analysis of The Chicxulub Asteroid Event Aftermath will Help Predict Tsunami Impact https://asteroidday-uploads.s3.eu-central-1.amazonaws.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/02/22191937/headshots.gif 480 270 Asteroid Day https://asteroidday-uploads.s3.eu-central-1.amazonaws.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/02/22191937/headshots.gif
Researchers from academic institutions and government agencies, including NOAA’s Pacific Marine Environmental Lab and Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Lab, combined numerical modelling and analysis of geological records to simulate the global impact of the tsunami generated by the asteroid that 66 million years ago crashed into the Yucatan, Mexico, wiping out nearly all non-flying dinosaurs and most land plant and animal species.
This impact created a crater estimated at 180 km wide and 20 km deep, generating a tsunami that exceeded 4 km in height. The catastrophe is said to be 30,000 times larger than any other recorded event.
Numerical analysis of the Chicxulub event used three different models to reproduce the tsunami’s generation and propagation. A large computer program that models details of complex fluid flows, called hydrocode, simulated the first 10 minutes after the tsunami, and two more models were added to simulate its spread across all oceans. The team reviewed the geological record at more than 100 locations worldwide and found evidence that bolstered the models’ predictions about the tsunami’s path and strength.
The animation portrays the old position of the continents (in black) and compares it with the current one (in white). Other colours used are associated with positive (red) and negative (blue) wave amplitudes, highlighting how the ocean undulates with higher and lower water levels in ocean basins during a catastrophic tsunami.
Although the numerical values of the colour bar reach +/- 500 centimetres, the dark red and blue are much larger and smaller. The wave’s amplitude started at over 1.5 km high but may have reached 4.5 km high by the time it reached the shore.
These models created will be helpful in predicting the global impacts of conventional tsunamis and assessing the consequences of large asteroid impacts on Earth.
Learn more about this event:
Tsunami: Asteroid Impact – 66 Million Years Ago (NOAA – Science on a Sphere)
Dinosaur-killing asteroid triggered global tsunami (University of Michigan – video)
LEARN – What happens when an asteroid hits Earth?