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Asteroid Collision Fueled Ancient Dust Storm on Earth

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Collision
Asteroid Collision Fueled Ancient Dust Storm on Earth
Credit: space.com/Robert Roy Britt

One of the biggest cosmic dust storms of the past 80 million years left a blanket of material on Earth after an asteroid in space broke apart, researchers said today.

The conclusion is based on evidence in ocean sediments, which computer models have tied to an observed bevy of asteroid siblings still roaming the solar system.

The thinking is that the space rocks were once part of a larger asteroid, some 100 miles (160 kilometers) wide, that broke up – possibly in a collision – out in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. The drama took place 8.2 million years ago. That much has been reasoned before. The event would have created vast amounts of dust, some of which would have been scooped up by our planet.

More: space.com - Asteroid Collision Fueled Ancient Dust Storm on Earth