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Wed, 22 Sep 2021
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Fireballs


Comet 2

Study confirms that it was a giant meteorite impact that caused massive extinction in the late Cretaceous

Impact Event
© Universitat de Barcelona
The Zumaia cliffs are characterized by an exceptional section of strata that reveals the geological history of the Earth in the period of 115-50 million years ago (Ma).
A study published in the journal Geology rules out that extreme volcanic episodes had any influence on the massive extinction of species in the late Cretaceous. The results confirm the hypothesis that it was a giant meteorite impact what caused the great biological crisis that ended up with the non-avian dinosaur lineages and other marine and terrestrial organisms 66 million years ago.

The study was carried out by the researcher Sietske Batenburg, from the Faculty of Earth Sciences of the University of Barcelona, and the experts Vicente Gilabert, Ignacio Arenillas and José Antonio Arz, from the University Research Institute on Environmental Sciences of Aragon (IUCA-University of Zaragoza).

K/Pg boundary: the great extinction of the Cretaceous in Zumaia coasts

The scenario of this study were the Zumaia cliffs (Basque Country), which have an exceptional section of strata that reveals the geological history of the Earth in the period of 115-50 million years ago (Ma). In this environment, the team analyzed sediments and rocks that are rich in microfossils that were deposited between 66.4 and 65.4 Ma, a time interval that includes the known Cretaceous/Paleogene boundary (K/Pg). Dated in 66 Ma, the K/Pg boundary divides the Mesozoic and Cenozoic eras and it coincides with one of the five large extinctions of the planet.

This study analysed the climate changes that occurred just before and after the massive extinction marked by the K/Pg boundary, as well as its potential relation to this large biological crisis. For the first time, researchers examined whether this climate change coincides on the time scale with its potential causes: the Deccan massive volcanism (India) ─one of the most violent volcanic episodes in the geological history of the planet─ and the orbital variations of the Earth.

"The particularity of the Zumaia outcrops lies in that two types of sediments accumulated there ─some richer in clay and others richer in carbonate─ that we can now identify as strata or marl and limestone that alternate with each other to form rhythms", notes the researcher Sietske Batenburg, from the Department of Earth and Ocean Dynamics of the UB. "This strong rhythmicity in sedimentation is related to cyclical variations in the orientation and inclination of the Earth axis in the rotation movement, as well as in the translational movement around the Sun".

These astronomic configurations ─the known Milankovitch cycles, which repeat every 405,000, 100,000, 41,000 and 21,000 years─, regulate the amount of solar radiation they receive, modulate the global temperature of our planet and condition the type of sediment that reaches the oceans. "Thanks to these periodicities identified in the Zumaia sediments, we have been able to determine the most precise dating of the climatic episodes that took place around the time when the last dinosaurs lived", says PhD student Vicente Gilabert, from the Department of Earth Sciences at UZ, who will present his thesis defence by the end of this year.

Info

Ancient Tunguska sized airburst demolished city in Jordan Valley

Researchers present evidence that a cosmic impact destroyed a biblical city in the Jordan Valley
Ancient Airburst
© Allen West and Jennifer Rice, CC BY-ND
In the Middle Bronze Age (about 3,600 years ago or roughly 1650 BCE), the city of Tall el-Hammam was ascendant. Located on high ground in the southern Jordan Valley, northeast of the Dead Sea, the settlement in its time had become the largest continuously occupied Bronze Age city in the southern Levant, having hosted early civilization for a few thousand years. At that time, it was 10 times larger than Jerusalem and 5 times larger than Jericho.

"It's an incredibly culturally important area," said James Kennett (link is external), emeritus professor of earth science at UC Santa Barbara. "Much of where the early cultural complexity of humans developed is in this general area."

A favorite site for archaeologists and biblical scholars, the mound hosts evidence of culture all the way from the Chalcolithic, or Copper Age, all compacted into layers as the highly strategic settlement was built, destroyed and rebuilt over millennia.

But there is a 1.5-meter interval in the Middle Bronze Age II stratum that caught the interest of some researchers for its "highly unusual" materials. In addition to the debris one would expect from destruction via warfare and earthquakes, they found pottery shards with outer surfaces melted into glass, "bubbled" mudbrick and partially melted building material, all indications of an anomalously high-temperature event, much hotter than anything the technology of the time could produce.

"We saw evidence for temperatures greater than 2,000 degrees Celsius," said Kennett, whose research group at the time happened to have been building the case for an older cosmic airburst about 12,800 years ago that triggered major widespread burning, climatic changes and animal extinctions. The charred and melted materials at Tall el-Hammam looked familiar, and a group of researchers including impact scientist Allen West and Kennett joined Trinity Southwest University biblical scholar Philip J. Silvia's research effort to determine what happened at this city 3,650 years ago.

Their results (link is external) are published in the journal Nature Scientific Reports.

Fireball 2

Meteor fireball seen over Shanghai, China

fireball
© Xijiang W.
We received 4 reports about a fireball seen over Shanghai and Shanghai Shi on Saturday, September 18th 2021 around 20:41 UT.

For this event, we received 4 videos and 4 photos.


Fireball 2

Very bright meteor fireball falls in Spain (Sept. 15)

FIERBALL
On 15 September 2021, at 22:25 local time (equivalent to 20:25universal time), a rock (a meteoroid) from an asteroid impacted the atmosphere at about 76,000 km / h over the south of Spain.

The high temperature reached during its atmospheric entry gave rise to a fireball that began at a height of around 91 km over the province of Badajoz. The fireball moved northwest and ended at a height of about 22 km above the same province.

The bolide was seen by a wide number of casual eyewitnesses along the country. The preliminary analysis of this event shows that the rock was not fully destroyed: a small part of the object could survive and reach the ground as a meteorite. The event was recorded in the framework of the SMART project, operated by the Southwestern Europe Meteor Network (SWEMN), from the meteor-observing stations located at the astronomical observatories of Calar Alto (Almería), Sierra Nevada (Granada), La Sagra, La Hita, and Sevilla.

The event has been analyzed by the principal investigator of the SMART project: Dr. Jose M. Madiedo, from the Institute of Astrophysics of Andalusia (IAA-CSIC).


Fireball 2

Meteor fireball over Germany, Austria and Czech Republic

fireball
© André K.
We received 15 reports about a fireball seen over Bayern, Brandenburg, Niedersachsen, Pardubický kraj, Sachsen, Salzburg, Saxony, Thüringen and Wien on Monday, September 13th 2021 around 18:06 UT.

For this event, we received 2 videos and 9 photos.


Fireball 2

Meteor fireball over Morocco (Sept. 11)

fireball
This fireball was recorded from Spain on the night of 11 September 2021, at 5:25 local time ( 3:25UT).

The bright meteor was produced by the entry in the atmosphere of a rock (a meteoroid) from a comet at about 245,000 km / h. The high temperature reached during the atmospheric entry gave rise to a fireball that began at a height of around 128 km over the region of La Oriental (northeast of Morocco).

The fireball moved northwest and ended at a height of about 77 km above the same region. The event was recorded in the framework of the SMART project, operated by the Southwestern Europe Meteor Network (SWEMN), from the meteor-observing stations located at the astronomical observatories of Calar Alto (Almería), Sierra Nevada (Granada), La Sagra, La Hita, and Sevilla. The event has been analyzed by the principal investigator of the SMART project: Dr. Jose M. Madiedo, from the Institute of Astrophysics of Andalusia (IAA-CSIC).5:25Peninsular local time.


Fireball 2

Meteor fireball over Spain on September 9

fireball
On 9 September 2021, at about 0:47h local time, a bright fireball was spotted over the center of Spain. This bolide was generated by a rock from an asteroid that hit the atmosphere at about 72,000 km / h.

The fireball overflew the province of Ciudad Real (region of Castilla-La Mancha).

It began over that province at an altitude of about 98 km, and ended at a height of around 35 km.

This bright meteor was recorded in the framework of the SMART project, operated by the Southwestern Europe Meteor Network (SWEMN), from the meteor-observing stations located at Sevilla, La Hita (Toledo), La Sagra (Granada), Calar Alto (Almería) ), Sierra Nevada (Granada), and Madrid (Jaime Izquierdo, Complutense University of Madrid).


Fireball 4

Meteor fireball seen over Denmark and Germany

fireball
© Sirko M.
We received 61 reports about a fireball seen over Berlin, Brandenburg, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Niedersachsen, Sachsen, Sachsen-Anhalt, Schleswig-Holstein and Thüringen on Thursday, September 9th 2021 around 19:36 UT.

For this event, we received 4 videos and 5 photos.


Cloud Lightning

Meteor fireball seen over Italy, Switzerland, Germany and France

fireball
We received 70 reports about a fireball seen over Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, Baden-Württemberg, Basel-Landschaft, Berne, Bourgogne-Franche-Comté, Canton of Bern, Fribourg, Grand Est, Graubünden, Lombardia, Neuchâtel, Piemont, Piemonte, Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur, Rheinland-Pfalz, Schwyz, Solothurn, Ticino and Trentino-Alto on Monday, September 6th 2021 around 18:33 UT.

For this event, we received 3 videos and 3 photos.


Fireball 3

Spectacular meteor fireball lights up night sky over northern France and southern UK

over the sky of Brittany

Meteor fireball over the sky of Brittany on September 5, 2021.
We received 379 reports about a fireball seen over Île-de-France, Bourgogne-Franche-Comté, Bretagne, Brittany, Centre-Val de Loire, Cymru, England, Hauts-de-France, Normandie, Nouvelle-Aquitaine, Occitanie, Pays de la Loire, St Helier, St Martin, Vale and Wales on Sunday, September 5th 2021 around 21:47 UT.

For this event, we received 5 videos and one photo.