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Supercomputer Simulates Impact of Asteroid That Wiped Out Dinosaurs


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Chicxulub crater and partial impact simulation

The Chicxulub crater and a partial scenario for a 17-km diameter impactor and a 60-degree impact.

Using high performance computing facilities provided by Hewlett Packard Enterprise, scientists at Imperial College in London simulated the asteroid strike that hit the Earth some 66 millions of years ago and resulted in up to three-quarters of plant and animal species going extinct — including the dinosaurs.

The research focused on establishing as precise an impact angle and trajectory as possible. Various impact angles and speeds were considered, and 3D simulations for each were fed into a supercomputer. These simulations were then compared with the geophysical features that have been observed in the 110-mile wide Chicxulub crater, located in Mexico's Yucatán Peninsula, where the impact occurred.

The researchers describe their work in "A Steeply-Inclined Trajectory for the Chicxulub Impact," published in the journal Nature Communications

The team carried out almost 300 3D simulations, which were processed by the HPE Apollo 6000 Gen10 supercomputer located at the University of Leicester. The 14,000-cores system, powered by Intel's Skylake chips, is supported by a 6TB server to accommodate large, in-memory calculations.

From ZDNet
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