Giant Collision That Nearly Ended Life on Earth is Identified

Evidence is mounting that 250 million years ago, long before the dinosaurs dominated the Earth, a meteor the size of Mount Everest smashed into what is now northern Australia, heaving rock halfway around the globe, triggering mass volcanic eruptions, and wiping out all but about 10 percent of the species on the planet. The "Great Dying," as it's called, was by far the most cataclysmic extinction event in Earth's history, yet scientists have been unable to finger a culprit as they have with the dinosaur extinction. A new paper published in Science, however, claims to identify the crater made by that meteor, and it builds upon an ongoing body of evidence by researchers that points the finger for the Great Dying squarely at the heavens.

USA Today May 14, 2004

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