Chicxulub, Yucatán — The 29 scientists who went to work last spring off the coast of the Yucatán Peninsula have found, among many other things, evidence of rising ocean levels.
The international team was stationed on an ocean platform last April, drilling into the core of the so-called “Chicxulub crater,” formed 66 million years ago when an asteroid or comet impact may have set off the extinction of the dinosaurs. The explosion formed an 180-kilometer-wide crater.
While the central goal of the expedition was to learn more about dinosaurs and the evolution of life on Earth, but along the way, they also learned that during the last ice age, the level of the ocean was far lower than today.
“Between 18,000 and 23,000 years ago, the Yucatán Peninsula was literally bigger,” said a smiling Jaime Urrutia, who was part of the mission and is president of the Mexican Academy of Sciences.
Evidence is grounded in core samples that had been exposed to air, indicating they were once dry land.
Scientists, who are still studying the crater samples at a lab in Germany, concluded that when the asteroid hit, the impact site was above water rather than partly under the Gulf of Mexico, as it now is.
The team of scientists continues to analyze the drilled samples at a laboratory at the Bremen Core Repository of the International Ocean Discovery Program (IODP) in Germany.