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Asteroid impact: life after death

Tuesday 5th December 2017 @ 19:00

Non-Member: £12.00 ; Staff: £5.00 ; Student: £3.00


Professor Joanna Morgan, Department of Earth Science and Engineering, Co-chief Scientist on IODP-ICDP Expedition 364: Drilling Chicxulub

Everyone is welcome to attend this open lecture.

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Drilling the Chicxulub impact crater has led to a better understanding of the formation of large impact craters and the subsurface of other planetary bodies. The study revealed that large impacts may be catastrophic (as Chicxulub was to the dinosaurs) but could also have provided a habitat for early life on Earth.

The Day the Dinosaurs Died, the BBC Two documentary televised in July this year, was a summary of the findings of Prof Morgan and her team who drilled into the impact crater associated with the demise of the dinosaurs.

The 200km-wide Chicxulub crater, now buried under the Gulf of Mexico, was hit by an asteroid 66 million years ago.

Come and hear from the co-Chief scientist of the expedition how the crater revealed clues to the origins of life on Earth.

They say its rocks show evidence of having been home to a large "hydrothermal system", where hot fluids flowed through cracks and fissures.

Similar systems, generated by impacts on the early Earth, could have helped kickstart the first lifeforms.

Prof Morgan is also part of the team at The Impacts and Astromaterials Research Centre at Imperial (IARC). The Centre addresses a wide range of fundamental planetary science questions ranging from the origins of the Solar System to the continuing evolution of the planets, asteroids and comets.

The IARC initiative brings together planetary scientists, facilities and resources from the Department of Earth Science and Engineering, Imperial College London and the Mineralogy Department of The Natural History Museum into a multidisciplinary centre committed to the characterisation of the processes and materials that dictate the nature of planetary bodies and systems.

The research conducted by IARC focuses on combining the computational modelling of processes, the characterisation of meteorites and cosmic dust, and the interpretation of space mission data to address problems in planetary science.

Optionally followed by supper (this can be booked on the event booking form).
After the lecture a Friends' Table has been reserved at a local restaurant to entertain the speaker and for any of the audience who would like to join us to continue the evening's discussion. A two-course fixed price supper is served including wine, coffee and service charge.
Or if you have already booked for the event and now want to join us for supper Book Supper now

Venue: SAF Building, Imperial College London

Campus Map reference 33
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