Mesozoic Earth ] Back | Next >

Location
 North Africa
 95 million years ago

Mean atmospheric O2
 150% of modern level

Mean atmospheric CO2
 6x pre-industrial level

Mean temperature
 4C above modern level

Mesozoic Earth - A lunar impact illuminates a Cretaceous landscape featuring a Spinosaurus - Space Art/Natural History Illustration Geologic Time Scale

 Era: Mesozoic
  Period: Cretaceous
   Epoch: Late
    Age: Cenomanian

     
 

Cretaceous lunar strike

What may appear here as a diamond ring effect from a solar eclipse is in fact a brilliant and momentary flash of light signaling a massive asteroid impact on the Moon.

The Moon and all the inner planets of the Solar System show evidence of a long and violent history of encounters with meteorites and asteroids--leftover debris from the formation of the Solar System. This image depicts an asteroid colliding with the Moon about 95 million years ago. The perspective is from the surface of the Earth in what today is Egypt. The impact would have released millions of times more energy than today's largest nuclear weapon, creating a flash of light that would be far brighter than any star in the sky.

In the foreground of this image stands a wary theropod dinosaur of the genus Spinosaurus, an enormous meat-eating dinosaur that lived during the late Cretaceous period. Its typical length from tail tip to snout was 40-50 feet, and is believed to have weighed at least 8 tons or more.

 

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Copyright Walter B. Myers. All rights reserved.

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