Brevia

Comet or Asteroid Shower in the Late Eocene?

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Science  23 Jul 2004:
Vol. 305, Issue 5683, pp. 492
DOI: 10.1126/science.1098481

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Abstract

The passage of a comet shower ~35 million years ago is generally advocated to explain the coincidence during Earth's late Eocene of an unusually high flux of interplanetary dust particles and the formation of the two largest craters in the Cenozoic, Popigai and the Chesapeake Bay. However, new platinum-group element analyses indicate that Popigai was formed by the impact of an L-chondrite meteorite. Such an asteroidal projectile is difficult to reconcile with a cometary origin. Perhaps instead the higher delivery rate of extraterrestrial matter, dust, and large objects was caused by a major collision in the asteroid belt.

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