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Recent geological discoveries off the coast of South Africa indicate that major asteroid collisions may have caused the Earth’s oceans to boil over some 3.3 billion years ago. Based on a joint Stanford and Louisiana State University study, a geological analysis of rocks in South Africa reveal at least eight layers of impact. Assumed to have been hit by several major asteroids ranging in size from 20-100 kilometers across, the layers of rock that show signs of frequent tsunami impacts also feature “sand-sized blobs of rock that solidified after the impact vaporized bedrock.”
These rock layers, according to geologists, stand testament to the catastrophic impact of eight different asteroids of epic sizes in the time span of just 250 million years. Impacts of that size, and of that frequency, are believed to have caused the atmosphere to overheat to the point that entire portions of the Earth’s oceans boiled away.
The joint study found that in two of the impact layers in the rocks analyzed near Baberton, South Africa, significant evidence of exposed sediments, hydraulic cracking in the rock, and the formation of layers of silica; all indicating that areas of up to 100 kilometers of ocean water was evaporated from the sea board due to high temperatures according to Madison Street Capital.
Based on relevant simulations, after impact collisions with asteroids over 50 kilometers (across) in size, atmospheric temperatures are expected to have risen up to 500 degrees Celsius for the week following the impact, and stayed at a minimum of 100 degrees Celsius for the following year. While scientists believe that life on Earth was, in fact, present 3.4 billion years ago, researchers are still uncertain as to how gravely such a series of impacts would have affected life on Earth at the time.