Bombs from space

Again and again the Earth is struck by meteorites. A famous meteorite crater is the “Nordlinger Ries” in Bavaria, formed 14 million years ago. A still larger meteorite impacted about 65 million years ago in Mexico. Many researchers attribute the extinction of the dinosaurs to this meteorite impact. Altogether there have been five mass extinctions in the history of life, in which very many species died out.

Melted gravel rocks

Meteorite impacts can derail the local and global carbon cycle. Dust and soot darken the atmosphere, so that the temperature plummets and photosynthesis becomes impossible. This limestone slab, onto which the melted gravel rocks are baked, were formed in the first few minutes after the impact that created the Nordlinger Ries.

Chapter 9