Scientists drill into Chicxulub Crater to better understand the hollow feature
A massive asteroid slammed into the Earth nearly 65 million years ago, bringing the dinosaur epoch to an end and producing a massive crater in the process.
In a bid to better understand that huge hollow feature, dubbed Chicxulub Crater, off the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico, a team of scientists drilled into it and analyzed its rocks. The research helped them study and analyze the dynamics of the impact.
First author Joanna Morgan, a professor at Imperial College London, said, "It is hard to believe that the same forces that destroyed the dinosaurs may have also played a part … providing the first refuges for early life. We are hoping that further analyses of the core samples will provide more insights into how life can exist in these subterranean environments."
As nearly half of that crater is underwater, the scientists carried out their research aboard a floating drilling station that was nearly 40 feet above the Gulf of Mexico, standing on three pillar-like legs.
In order to get to the massive crater's peak ring, the researchers drilled through nearly 60 feet of water and then through 2,000 feet of limestone and other sediments that accumulated since the devastating impact millions of years ago.
They concluded that those refuges for early life on Earth existed because the rock became more porous because of the impact. The porous rock and the water circulated through provided a "happy place" for various organisms to grow.