New study has shown that the asteroid that caused the global extinction of the dinosaurs 66 million years ago likely came from the outer edge of the main asteroid belt. Previously, this region was considered calm: from where only a few celestial bodies flew in.

In a new work, scientists from the US Southwestern Research Institute (SwRI) showed that asteroids fell to Earth from the outer edge of the main belt at least 10 times more often than previously thought.

Previously, geologists examined rock samples from 66 million years old, found on land and in drill cores. The results show that the asteroid belonged to the class of carbonaceous chondrites. As you know, it is one of the rarest materials in the solar system. At the same time, although carbonaceous chondrites are common among bodies approaching the Earth with dimensions of tens of kilometers, none of them today correspond to the dimensions for the formation of the Chikshulub crater.

Recall that Chikshulub is an ancient impact crater with a diameter of about 180 km and an initial depth of 17-20 km, located on the Yucatan Peninsula, and included in the list of the largest craters on Earth. It is assumed that the crater was formed about 66.5 million years ago at the end of the Cretaceous as a result of the impact of an asteroid about 10 km in diameter.