B.B.C. ArticleAsteroid strike made 'instant Himalayas'
Scientists say they can now describe in detail how the asteroid that wiped out the dinosaurs produced its huge crater.
The reconstruction of the event 66 million years ago was made possible by drilling into the remnant bowl and analysing its rocks.
These show how the space impactor made the hard surface of the planet slosh back and forth like a fluid.
At one stage, a mountain higher than Everest was thrown up before collapsing back into a smaller range of peaks.
"And this all happens on the scale of minutes, which is quite amazing," Prof Joanna Morgan from Imperial College London, UK, told BBC News.
The researchers report their account in this week's edition of Science Magazine.
Their study confirms a very dynamic, very energetic model for crater formation, and will go a long way to explaining the resulting cataclysmic environmental changes.
The debris thrown into the atmosphere likely saw the skies darken and the global climate cool for months, perhaps even years, driving many creatures into extinction, not just the dinosaurs.
The team spent May to June this year drilling a core through the so-called Chicxulub Crater, now buried under ocean sediments off Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula.