Leg 171, Hole 1049A, Core 17X, Section 2, 45-85 cm

Collected during Leg 171 in 1997, this sediment core records the giant asteroid impact event that changed life on Earth 65 million years ago. The core shows the effects of the impact as a brown-orange fireball layer made up of dust and ash fallout. By studying the fossils of microorganisms found in the sediments below and above this impact layer, scientists have been able to estimate how many species of these ancient marine organisms became extinct after the impact. Scientists also learn about ancient climate and environmental conditions by studying these sediments.

Download a photo of the core. (JPG, 4.8MB)

See http://www-odp.tamu.edu/publications/leg_ndx/171bndex.htm for more detailed information about Leg 171.