Updated 18 May, 2013, 5:40 pm IST
A gigantic meteor collided with the earth about 2.5 million years ago, generating the mother of all tsunamis, hundreds of metres high, possibly plunging the planet into the Ice Ages, an Australian study says. Most scientists may have overlooked Eltanin meteor's potential for immediate catastrophic impact, or its capacity to destabilize the entire planet's climate system, when the 2,000 metre object crashed in the southern Pacific Ocean.
A meteor could have been the cause of the Ice Ages (image credit: Wikipedia)
"Unlike a land impact, where the energy of the collision is largely absorbed locally, this would have generated an incredible splash with waves literally hundreds of metres high near the impact site," adds Goff. "Some modelling suggests that the ensuing mega-tsunami could have been unimaginably large - sweeping across vast areas of the Pacific and engulfing coastlines far inland. But it also would have ejected massive amounts of water vapour, sulphur and dust up into the stratosphere."
"There's no doubt the world was already cooling through the mid and late Pliocene Epoch," says study co-author Mike Archer, professor and Goff's colleague. "What we're suggesting is that the Eltanin impact may have rammed this slow-moving change forward in an instant - hurtling the world into the cycle of glaciations that characterized the next 2.5 million years and triggered our own evolution as a species," Archer said.
Tags: Cause of Ice Ages , Meteor , Giant Meteor , Giant Meteor could have caused Ice Ages , Australia-Pacific Tsunami Research Center , University of New South Wales , UNSW , Tsunami , Mega-Tsunami , Eltanin impact , Eltanin meteor , Eltanin , Ice Ages , Ice Age
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