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Tiny particles of a cosmic body have been stored in a piece of amber for 66 million years. Chemical analysis confirmed their cosmic origin.
An unusual find made in the Hell Creek Formation in North Dakota (USA) has attracted the attention of scientists. These are tiny fragments of ancient rock, enclosed in a piece of amber. Researchers believe they may be parts of an asteroid that hit Earth 66 million years ago and killed the dinosaurs, according to CNN.
where the asteroid hit the surface. But, as previous studies have shown, it contains fossils that date directly to the day of the disaster.
So, paleontologists discovered the remains of fish buried alive under a wave of sediments raised by an asteroid. They concluded that the fish died within an hour of the impact. In their gills, “shock balls” are preserved; – small pieces of molten rock ejected from the crater and hardened into glass.
Most of these spheres have turned into clay over 66 million years. However, the researchers managed to find a few balls trapped in tree resin. They have survived to this day almost in their original form.
“It's like taking a test tube, going back in time and taking a sample from the impact site, and then saving it for science,” – said the lead author of the study, paleontologist Robert De Palma.
The analysis showed that most of these balls are rich in calcium. Obviously, they flew out of limestone layers under the Yucatan Peninsula. But some of them were different. Scientists have identified traces of chromium, nickel and some other elements that are found only in meteorite matter.
The authors concluded that these particles “almost certainly” are of cosmic origin. They intend to more accurately determine the composition of the asteroid and the place where it came from. A paper on the study will be submitted for publication in peer-reviewed scientific journals in the coming months.
Previously, a back leg of a dinosaur that died on the day of the asteroid impact was found in the Hell Creek Formation. It belonged to the herbivorous Thescelosaurus.
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