"What would it mean for species or life at the time?It's a huge open question," says Jennifer Marlon, a paleoclimatologist at Yale University.Their controversial solution was to invoke an extraterrestrial agent: the impact of one or more comets.
The timing is still up for debate, but some researchers on the discovery team believe the asteroid struck at a crucial moment: roughly 13,000 years ago, just as the world was thawing from the last ice age.
It advances on the Arctic Ocean not in a straight wall, but in a conspicuous semicircle, as though spilling out of a basin.
Kjær, a geologist at the Natural History Museum of Denmark in Copenhagen, suspected the glacier was hiding an explosive secret.
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The research group marshaled suggestive but inconclusive evidence, and few other scientists were convinced.