How might a major asteroid impact have caused a mass extinction of the Earth's plant and animal species at certain times in the geologic past?

Expert Answers
pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

A lot of scientists believe that the major example of how this happened was the asteroid impact that (many believe) had a lot to do with the extinction of the dinosaurs.

The way this works is through climate change.  When a really big asteroid hits the Earth, it is not the impact that kills, it is what comes after.  Mainly, huge amounts of dust get thrown up into the high atmosphere.  The dust doesn't come down for a really long time.  While it is up there, it blocks the sun, causing temperatures to cool a great deal.

When temperatures cool, the whole Earth's ecosystem is messed up.  Plants and animals that can't tolerate the lower temperatures for long periods of time go extinct.

devyanigarg | Student

A lot of researchers and scientists believe that mass extinction of various species like dinosaurs was due to asteroid impact.

When an asteroid hits a planet,a lot of dust is thrown up.This results in blockage in the atmosphere and the various animal species are not able to take in air and therefore die.

Plants need sunlight to live.When the dust is thrown up,it does not settle fast.This blocks the sunlight and therefore the plants die.

Another reason is that when the dust blocks the sun,the temperatures go down.The living species are not able to survive in a sudden change in temperature and therefore become extinct.

astrosonuthird | Student

When asteroid hit the Earth impact


they give out great radiation


and due to this dinasaurs exticted


we may also be extinct on the year 2029