The Chicxulub Impact Produced a Powerful Global Tsunami

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The Chicxulub crater is the site of an asteroid impact linked with the Cretaceous-Paleogene (K-Pg) mass extinction at ∼66 Ma. This asteroid struck in shallow water and caused a large tsunami. Here we present the first global simulation of the Chicxulub impact tsunami from initial contact of the projectile to global propagation. We use a hydrocode to model the displacement of water, sediment, and crust over the first 10 min, and a shallow-water ocean model from that point onwards. The impact tsunami was up to 30,000 times more energetic than the 26 December 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, one of the largest tsunamis in the modern record. Flow velocities exceeded 20 cm/s along shorelines worldwide, as well as in open-ocean regions in the North Atlantic, equatorial South Atlantic, southern Pacific and the Central American Seaway, and therefore likely scoured the seafloor and disturbed sediments over 10,000 km from the impact origin. The distribution of erosion and hiatuses in the uppermost Cretaceous marine sediments are consistent with model results.

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Range, M. M., Arbic, B. K., Johnson, B. C., Moore, T. C., Titov, V., Adcroft, A. J., … Wang, H. (2022). The Chicxulub Impact Produced a Powerful Global Tsunami. AGU Advances, 3(5).

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