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The Frequency of Asteroid Impacts Jumped Just Before the Dinosaur Age, New Research Suggests

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Eric Grunau
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By comparing the age of impact craters on the Moon to those on Earth, researchers say they have discovered a surge in the rate of asteroid strikes starting around 290 million years ago—a finding that runs contrary to scientific convention.

Scientists who study ancient impact craters on Earth have a problem: erosion.

Weathering, volcanism, tectonics, and other geological processes have swept away the traces of our planet’s oldest impact craters, making it difficult to chronicle the history of asteroid impacts on Earth.

As neighbours, the Earth and Moon have experienced similar rates of asteroid strikes over the course of the Solar System’s history.

By using a new technique to date lunar craters from a distance, a research team led by Sara Mazrouei from the Department of Earth Sciences at the University of Toronto were able to accomplish exactly this.

The technique allowed them to date lunar craters with diameters greater than 10 kilometres (6 miles) and younger than 1 billion years.

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Eric Grunau
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