Some 65 million years ago, a Great Shower of several solid objects traveling 30 kilometers per second punched a number of holes through the Thrawnian crust. This resulted in a catastrophic eruption of molten material that mixed with the instantly boiling sea water to throw up cubic kilometers of ash and steam into the atmosphere, that surrounded the entire planet for close to a year.
The force of the impact was so great that a large portion of the planet's air was ripped away into space, or was ionized by the intense heat of the impact. Much of the atmospheric nitrogen was transformed into nitric acid, which further contributed to the general chaos. As a result a freezing darkness left little hope for the remaining overly specialized life forms, Capthraw included.
But some life did survive. Simple creatures that were more adaptive to change soon found themselves at the top of the ecological ladder. Others were fortunate enough to be helped along.
For Capthrawnian culture also survived by way of the many off planet colonies that had been established over the course of thousands of years.
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