The Asteroid Belt has a 'safe' area, where researchers think the meteor came from that killed the dinosaurs and other creatures in a cataclysmic extinction event that happened centuries ago. Researchers were surprised that this part in the solar system hid these planet killers capable of wiping out life on earth or any planet nearby.
The realization that this portion of the belt was considered safe but is not. This part is capable of a rock splashed down from the outer rim was not expected. Any meteor that may escape this belt has such power that it can kill 75% of all life on earth then.
We may not know when another asteroid might come crashing like the asteroid that ended the Age of Reptiles. Another one might be lurking there too. So, the 'safe' part is a misnomer because it is the opposite.
Rock Samples Reveals They Escaped From the 'Safe' Part of the Asteroid Belt
The scientists doing the study are from Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio, Texas, who discovered this section of the main belt has a secret. A portion of the belt has about 10% larger asteroids, which has struck the earth in the far past, reported the Daily Mail.
Researchers also found that this main belt region produces at least ten times more large asteroids that may hit earth than previously thought.
This discovery was made after examining the composition of space rocks from the suspected safe zone of the asteroid belt. A comparison is made to the one that hit the earth forming the Chicxulub crater.
An investigation was done using computer models of asteroid development, assessing data from asteroids and rock samples from the Chicxulub impact located in Mexico's Yucatan.
A scenario was programmed by visa the NASA's Pleiades Supercomputer, and they found out that about 130,000 asteroids had gone from the main belt. Many of these asteroids might be on a collision course to other worlds from the safe area of the Asteroid Belt.
One of the reasons why asteroids broke out from the main belt is because of thermal forces, which causes them to drift. These thermal changes put them into escape hatch trajectories due to the gravitation of these planets.
The research determined from the data gathered that asteroids with a radius of six miles hit the earth about 65 million years ago. Therefore, scientists speculated that a cataclysmic impact might happen more than one time.
Asteroids might struck the earth every several million years
In a statement by Dr. Simone Marchi, the co-study author made observations based on the available data. He said that it was an interesting result because in the outer half of the asteroid belt are numerous carbonaceous chondrite impactors, based on the computer models used, per SwRI.
Computer-generated scenarios showed how the giant asteroid might be set on a collision with earth. She added the place where the Chicxulub impactor must have come from, and this took into account the evolution of the asteroid.
Further investigation says that a 6-mile radius space rock would strike the earth every 250 million years on average. Half of them were made of carbonaceous chondrites, just like the dinosaur killer.
Carbonaceous chondrites are common among the mile-wide asteroids that approach earth, and we can never know how many out there exists that would cause a crater blast the size of the Chicxulub impact.
Scientists investigated the remains of the Chicxulub asteroid, which had carbonaceous chondrite, which is only found in the asteroid belt. They are the purest materials to be found in the solar system.
One of the authors, Dr. David Nesvorný, added that this research would help us understand the impactor and know their origin if they came from the 'safe' area of the Asteroid Belt that struck the earth millions of years back.