This comet caused huge destruction on Earth JUST 1500 years ago

A new study revealed the impact that a comet had on the face of the Earth and it happened fairly recently. The destruction spread across 9200 miles.

| Updated on: Aug 22 2022, 00:04 IST
The falling debris of a comet about 1500 years ago rained fire over North America. (NASA)
The falling debris of a comet about 1500 years ago rained fire over North America. (NASA)

NASA has revealed earlier that asteroids have hit Earth over the course of its history. In fact, small pieces of asteroids, or meteors keep showering down on Earth and sometime create impressive fireworks in the sky. But these are small in size and do not pose any threat to the Earth. Comets too have come and gone over the Earth's history. However, most of the time while talking of comets, the time span is usually far back in history. However, now, new research shows that a massive near Earth comet had a huge impact on Earth. It did not crash into Earth, but it was close enough to rain down pieces of itself on the ground. These fell to the ground as a rain of fire and it devastated a human population. And, what is more, it happened merely 1500 years ago. Research by the University of Cincinnati has found evidence that the falling debris of a comet about 1500 years ago rained fire over a huge swathe of North America. In fact it has been measured at as much as 9,200 square miles.

The study mentioned that the researchers found evidence of a cosmic airburst at 11 archaeological sites in three states, stretching across the Ohio River Valley. This was home to a Native American culture that has been dubbed as Ohio Hopewell. After this event, this culture virtually ceased to exist. The comet's transit pass near the Earth's atmosphere showered debris on Earth, causing a huge explosion. Though, still, it is difficult to say what had exactly happened. The study gives a little light towards the reason of the decline of Hopewell Culture.

Is Comet debris the reason behind the decline of Hopewell Culture?

Studies are still being conducted. Researchers have been looking into the reasons for the Hopewell Culture's decline in the eastern United States. They believe that the explosion from the near-Earth comet may have played a major role in the demise of Hopewell Culture. At 11 Hopewell archaeological sites, the study found unusually high levels of Iridium and Platinum, which indicate the presence of meteorite debris. Also, soil sediments also indicate a period of high heat conditions.

The researchers from the University of Cincinnati believe that a near-Earth comet may have sent the debris flying towards the Earth and caused a huge airburst. The studies are still going on regarding the same. Researchers are now looking at pollen trapped in layers of sand to understand how the comet airburst affected the Ohio River Valley's botanical landscape.

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First Published Date: 05 Feb, 09:14 IST