A tourist attraction in California. An asteroid crash 66 million years ago in the Gulf of Mexico was lethal to dinosaurs on the continentALAMY

Scientists have revealed the most detailed picture yet of the day an asteroid ended the reign of the dinosaurs, finding vivid evidence of how a giant sulphur cloud blocked the sun and resulted in their deaths.

A minute-by-minute account of the aftermath of the strike, which hit Earth with the power of ten billion atomic bombs 66 million years ago, has been pieced together using a rock sample from the 90-mile-wide crater it created off the coast of Mexico.

The study confirmed the theory that it was not fire or flood that caused the dinosaurs’ extinction: it was a sudden denial of sunlight.

Without the mass extinction that ensued, humans would never have evolved.

Obtained from beneath the seabed, the column of rock shows how…