"Dr. Strangelove" Material
After the impact event of 65 million years ago, it is thought that there was a huge drop in the biological activity in the oceans after the event because the sun was largely blocked out, reducing photosynthesis in ocean-living algae. Without sun, the algae would have died off, and without algae, which are at the base of the oceanic food chain, other life forms in the ocean would die off or become very rare. The more widely accepted reconstructions of what happened indicate that this oceanic die-off did indeed happen, and that it took up to three million years for the ecosystems of the open ocean to recover from this impact. (Near-shore ecosystems have been thought to recover much more quickly.) The relatively lifeless post-impact open ocean is sometimes referred to as the “Stangelove ocean” in reference to the character in the apocalyptic movie “Dr. Strangelove.”
The "Strangelove Ocean," was first suggested by Dr. Kenneth Hsu, a Swiss scientist, geologist, paleoclimatologist, and oceanographer. Dr. Hsu first presented in a 1985 paper information about a catastophic "Strangelove ocean" where the carbon cycle had shut down for many thousands of years. The phrase was so vivid that it stuck. There have been scientific papers that debate how long the ocean was "dead" or were there just portions of the oceans that were dead in certain areas. The “Strangelove Ocean” is still used as a technical term in scientific works because it provides a useful model of physical processes in the ocean that continue in the absence of life.
Immediately after the impact, certain areas of the ocean were devoid of oxygen and hostile to most algae, but close to the continent, microbial life was inhibited for only a relatively short period. It is now thought that in probably less than 100 years algal productivity first began their recovery. In the open ocean, however, this recovery took much longer: previous studies have estimated that the global ocean ecosystem did not return to its former state until 1 to 3 million years following the impact.
Sample size: 1 3/8" H X 1 3/8" W X 3/4"D, 16.9 grams
Sample source: K/Pg Boundary, Denmark
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