KT Boundary

Part I

The K-T boundary refers to the process of change that occurred between the Cretaceous and Tertiary periods of the geologic times. This transition which was triggered by the impact of the asteroid onto the earth surface resulted into a thin dark line present in layers of sediments globally (Rehan, Leys & Schwarz, 2013). Furthermore, the K-T boundary was marked by higher concentration of iridium which despite being rare on earth had significant amount in different asteroids. This period was characterised by mass extinction of various life forms including the dinosaurs.

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The K-T boundary is thinner in Italy compared to the size in America. In Italy, it is about 1 cm thick whereas in America it is slightly above 2cm (Schulte et al., 2010). The K-T boundary is the settlement of small particles of rock and ash which were ejected due to the impact of the meteorites which overlapped the Caribbean and Yucatan Peninsula near Mexico. Therefore, the rate of deposition would be greater in areas adjacent to Mexico like America as opposed to those areas which were far away like Italy.  

The extinction of the dinosaurs has attracted different arguments from scientists with others citing effects of climatic change and competition as the cause (Renne et al., 2013). However, the geological study of the impact of the asteroid effect that hit the earth nearly 6.5 million years ago, they discovered that the formation of the K-T boundary obscured sunlight penetration for many years. Consequently, the plants could no longer photosynthesise thereby subjecting other life-forms including the dinosaurs to starve to death resulting into their extinction.

Since the K-T layer was formed as a result of the impact of the asteroids which hit the surface of the earth in about 6.5 million years ago, a high concentration of iridium was discovered. Iridium is a rare metallic mineral which had sunk into the earth’s centre during its formation (Renne et al., 2013). However, with the eruption that was witnessed, the concentration of iridium rose above the normal levels by a margin of close to 130 times the standard value. This was the basis which helped the scientists to believe that the impact had been created by an asteroid which has hire concentration of iridium.

The alternate theory describing the extinction of the dinosaurs is associated with the global climatic change. According to the proponents of this theory, the eruption of the earth surface as a result of the impact of the asteroid contributed to the change in environment (Schulte et al., 2010). The remarkable changes include inadequate supply of food and water. As a result, most dinosaurs starved to death thereby forcing them into extinction.

Part II

A shooting star refers to the visible path followed by a meteoroid towards the atmosphere. Once it reaches the atmosphere, the meteoroid transforms into a meteor (Schulte et al., 2010). Generally, it is marked by the speck of space debris that burn as the star moves towards the earth’s atmosphere. The broad spectrum of light observed is as a result of different minerals which make up the meteor as it moves into the atmosphere.

As small debris from the space, the shooting star is known for its high speed as it enters into the atmosphere. The high speed, usually thousands of miles per hour is very high to the extent that it triggers collision between the rock debris and the air particles (Rehan, Leys & Schwarz, 2013). The collision generates friction which ultimately results into heating up of the space debris and finally forcing it to burn. However, the range of spectrum it produces depends on the number of minerals it has.

Trying to establish the origin of the meteorites requires an elaborate understanding of the solar system and its composition (Schulte et al., 2010). However, with a vast study of the space, it has been established that being fragments of the asteroids that peeled off in the asteroid belt, the meteorites originated from the space that exist between the Mars and Jupiter. The debris then orbit around the sun before they can collide with the earth’s atmosphere which results into the burning observed.

The government should invest in different research mechanisms to help in averting the possible consequences of the meteorites as the one which was observed in 6.5 million years ago (Renne et al., 2013). Although the same calamity has never occurred again, it is important to understand the dynamisms within the universe to enhance it awareness of another danger. With the changing climates, the analysis of the universe will provide a clue through which the government can restore the favourable climatic conditions which is effective for different forms of life.

The asteroids have the most devastating potential consequences if they get their way into the earth’s surface. Like what occurred in 6.5 million years ago, in the current world, it can cause more deaths of human beings and damage to several other industrial aspects across the globe (Rehan, Leys & Schwarz, 2013). However, through space probe, the scientists can monitor the possibility of collision between the atmosphere and the debris. Eventually, they can avert such contact thereby reducing the possibility of penetrating the earth’s surface.

The dinosaurs’ extinction involves both the geology and the astronomy. The astronomy focused on the movement of the meteorites from the universe creating an impact onto the earth’s surface. Geology on the other hand, considered the eruptions that followed the impacts which led to the formation of the K-T boundary which was the main cause of extinction of different life forms including the dinosaurs.


Rehan, S. M., Leys, R., & Schwarz, M. P. (2013). First evidence for a massive extinction

event affecting bees close to the KT boundary. PLoS One, 8(10), e76683.

Renne, P. R., Deino, A. L., Hilgen, F. J., Kuiper, K. F., Mark, D. F., Mitchell, W. S., … &

Smit, J. (2013). Time scales of critical events around the Cretaceous-Paleogene

boundary. Science, 339(6120), 684-687.

Schulte, P., Alegret, L., Arenillas, I., Arz, J. A., Barton, P. J., Bown, P. R., … & Collins, G. S.

(2010). The Chicxulub asteroid impact and mass extinction at the Cretaceous-

Paleogene boundary. Science, 327(5970), 1214-1218. 

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