The first evidence of a comet strike on Earth was uncovered in Egypt, according to an Oct. 9 MSN News report. The unusual black pebble, named "Hypatia," found years ago in Egypt has finally been determined to be a piece of the nucleus of a comet, which is the first ever evidence of a comet strike on Earth.
Study lead author Jan Kramers said,
"It's a typical scientific euphoria when you eliminate all other options and come to the realization of what it must be."
Interestingly, the black pebble is studded with diamonds, which further led scientists to realize that it was from a comet that struck Earth millions of years ago. Authors of the study believe that the impact of the comet created the diamonds embedded in the rock.
"Diamonds are produced from carbon-bearing material. Normally they form deep in the Earth, where the pressure is high, but you can also generate very high pressure with shock. Part of the comet impacted, and the shock of the impact produced the diamonds."
The comet is estimated to have impacted Earth about 28 million years ago. While researchers believe that comets have impacted Earth many times during the planet's history, this is the first significant evidence of such a strike. Now researchers will be able to study a comet without having to bring the material back from space. It is much more cost effective. Hopefully these studies will lead to better understanding of the origins of the Universe.