It’s hard to imagine that one space rock wiped out the dinosaurs. But it did more than that. It killed 75% of the plants and animals on Earth. Me-OW.

I talked about that with my friend Barry Walker. He teaches geology classes about Earth’s history at Washington State University.

Walker told me that we call a space rock that hits Earth a meteorite. The meteorite that took out the dinosaurs set off changes on Earth. Those changes lasted for thousands of years. That’s how it killed so many things.

“We’re not saying everything got wiped out immediately,” Walker said. “Something happened, and within a geologically short amount of time—maybe 10,000 years or so—the damage was fully wrought.”

That something was a meteorite called Chicxulub. It crashed into Earth nearly 66 million years ago. It made a giant bowl-shaped hole in the ground called a crater. The crater is about 100 miles wide and around 12 miles deep. It’s near Mexico.

The meteorite killed everything near the crater. It caused fires for hundreds of miles. It set off earthquakes, huge waves called tsunamis and volcano eruptions.

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