Once upon a time, our planet was completely different. Lasting millions of years, the reign of the dinosaurs was ended rather suddenly by an unexpected celestial visitor.

What Was the Shards Asteroid Site?

The shards asteroid site, located in Mexico’s Yucatán peninsula, is an area of immense historical significance. It is the site of an asteroid strike, roughly 66 million years ago, that is widely thought to be the cause of the dinosaurs’ extinction.

In the mysterious crater, the side of the earth’s crust shifted and crumpled from the cataclysmic impact, and the resulting airblast could have caused the largest wildfires in the earth’s history.

In the aftermath of the devastating disaster, the earth turned from a land of luscious green and vibrant life to a dreary, empty landscape under a black sky. The dinosaurs, having adapted to living in this environment, were driven to extinction by the disastrous effects of the meteor’s impact.

How Was the Site Discovered?

In 1990, researchers first started piecing together evidence of a massive asteroid impact, including global cooling, a sharp drop in air pressure, and a massive dust cloud that blocked out the sun.

In 1978, scientist algorithm astronomer Luis Alvarez and his team identified the Chixulub crater in Mexico’s Yucatán peninsula as the impact site of the asteroid.

The crater was finally confirmed to be the same size and shape as what would have been left after a thunderous asteroid strike when geologist Alan Hildebrand and his team discovered nickel-rich metal at the site that could only have come from an asteroid.

What Was the Impact of the Asteroid?

The energy released in the impact of the asteroid at the site can be likened to the combined force of all the world’s nuclear weapons.

In addition to the physical crater, there was an array of environmental repercussion—including extreme temperatures, dust and ash, acid rain, and profound climatic changes.

The environmental effects of the collision extended to the entire earth. Global temperatures plummeted, and the sun was blocked out for several months as dust and ash filled the atmosphere.

The massive dust cloud created a “nuclear winter”-like scenario, plunging the planet into darkness and drastically reducing the amount of sunlight reaching the surface. Plants, which were the primary food source for many species, began to die, leading to further extinctions.

What Animals Died as a Result of the Disaster?

The extinction rate of animals at the shards asteroid site was devastating. Many species of plant-eating dinosaurs, such as the Stegosaurus and Triceratops, could no longer feed due to the lack of vegetation, and perished as a consequence.

Carnivorous dinosaurs also succumbed to the consequences of the asteroid strike—Tyrannosaurus rex and the Velociraptor were unable to survive the drastic drop in available prey, leading to their extinction.

In addition to the dinosaurs, many other species of creatures perished following the cataclysmic event. Pterosaurs, a group of reptiles related to dinosaurs, became extinct, as did many species of flying reptiles, such as the Azhdarchids.

Other species of aquatic reptiles and fish, turtles, and marine mammals also died due to the asteroid.

The shards asteroid impact site is an ancient reminder of a time when our planet was drastically changed forever. The asteroid that hit the Yucatan peninsula changed the entire course of history, and the dinosaurs that roamed the earth were lost forever.

Today, the impact site serves as a stark reminder of how our planet has recovered and evolved since then. As biologists continue to study the site, they are able to uncover new information about the Earth’s ancient creatures and their extinction.

The shards asteroid impact site is a reminder of our planet’s violent history, and of the life that existed before our era. We can only hope that humans will never suffer the same fate as the dinosaurs.