(CNN)That asteroid which took out the dinosaurs all those years ago? That was nothing. Scientists say there was a bigger hunk of rock from space that whacked the Earth billions of years earlier.
And the damage from it? Apocalyptic.
“The impact would have triggered earthquakes orders of magnitude greater than terrestrial earthquakes. It would have caused huge tsunamis and would have made cliffs crumble,” said Andrew Glikson, of the Australian National University (ANU) Planetary Institute.
The beads were found in a 3.46 billion-year-old layer of sediment in Western Australia’s Marble Bar, which once formed the sea floor.
The layer, which is able to be accurately dated as it is sandwiched between two layers of volcanic rock, is some of the oldest sediment on Earth.
Further testing found the presence of elements such as platinum, nickel and chromium in the same quantities as those found in asteroids.
Glikson says that the discovery raises hopes for further finds from Earth’s ancient, violent past.
“This is just the tip of the iceberg. We’ve only found evidence for 17 impacts older than 2.5 billion years, but there could have been hundreds.”
“Asteroid strikes this big result in major tectonic shifts and extensive magma flows. They could have significantly affected the way the Earth evolved.”
The findings were published in the journal “Precambrian Research
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