Did a giant impact cause the Dark Ages? (Beginner)

I recently read an article that asteroids or something like that busting up in the Earth's atmosphere, was what caused the term the Dark Ages during the Middle Ages. Is it true?

It is true that there was a steep drop in the population of Europe in the mid-6th century, a timeframe that coincides with what is commonly referred to as "the Dark Ages" (a period of time spanning several centuries after the fall of the Roman Empire, from which there are few historical records of events in Europe). Most of this was due to a plague that is widely believed to be an earlier occurence of the Bubonic plague that struck Europe again in the 14th century, but there's also some evidence that there was some global cooling going on at that time. This would have led to lower crop yields, and caused the population to drop further.

One possible cause of temporary global cooling like this is a giant impact from space. But there are other possible causes, and we don't know of any evidence to suggest that it was a giant impact as opposed to something else.

Checked on July 18, 2015

About the Author

Christopher Springob

Christopher Springob

Chris studies the large scale structure of the universe using the peculiar velocities of galaxies.  He got his PhD from Cornell in 2005, and is now a Research Assistant Professor at the University of Western Australia.

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