The study was published in ’Science Advances’, led by Birger Schmitz of Lund University in Sweden. The work suggests a distant asteroid collision produced enough dust to trigger an ice age on Earth, approximately 470million years ago. During this period, known as GOBE (the great Ordovician biodiversification event) there was a notable increase in biodiversity, particularly in marine life.

The asteroid, which the study claims collided with another asteroid beyond the orbit of Mars, may have produced enough dust to blanket Earth and subsequently dramatically cool the planet.

Birger Schmitz, who led the study, told The Observer: “We know about the 10km asteroid that crashed on Earth 67 million years ago and killed off the dinosaurs, but this event was very different.

“It occurred about 470 million years ago when an asteroid 3,000 times bigger than the dinosaurs-killer was destroyed during a collision with another asteroid beyond the orbit of Mars.

“It filled the solar system with dust and caused a major dimming of sunlight falling on Earth.”

READ MORE: Asteroid shock: Space rock collision triggered ice age on Earth

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Asteroid news: the study suggests dust from a distant asteroid collision triggered the ice age (Image: Getty)

asteroid news asteroids nasa latest today tracker

Asteroid news: Birger Schmitz claimed the asteroid was “3000 times bigger” than the dinosaur-killer (Image: Getty)

He added: “The sediments laid down at this time are rich in the isotope helium-3 – which they could only have picked up travelling through space.It is a crucial clue.”

Scientist Rebecca Freeman, from the University of Kentucky, Lexington, supported the idea.

She told the journal ‘Science’: “It isn’t necessarily the answer to every question we have about Gobe, but it certainly ties together a lot of observati

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