Earth’s largest ever crater caused by an asteroid has been discovered in Australia. The asteroid caused craters that now measures 400 kilometers, and it very well may have caused mass-extinction upon its impact.
Australian scientists have discovered a pair of enormous “impact sites” in the country’s barren center. They are convinced these sites are the ancient remnants of a meteorite impact. Interestingly, scientists think the asteroid was so big, it actually spilt into two and caused the impact sites that stretch to about 200 kilometers individually and when taken together, form the largest impact site ever discovered on earth, exclaimed lead researcher Andrew Glikson from the Australian National University (ANU) in Canberra.
“Together, jointly they would form a 400 kilometer structure, which is the biggest we know of anywhere in the world. The consequences are that it could have caused a large mass extinction event at the time, but we still don’t know the age of this asteroid impact and we are still working on it.”
However, looking at the sheer enormity of the impact zone sizes, it wouldn’t be a far-off guess to think the meteorite halves would have each probably been about 10 kilometers across, feels Glikson. He adds that though it is a bit premature to speculate, the impact may have happened more than 300 million years ago.
The asteroid impact zones would never have been found if it hadn’t been for drills. Over the span of millions of years, the crates were deeply covered by layer upon layer of sediment. But they were discovered after several rounds of geothermal drilling. From the present-day geographical perspective, the impact zones spanned an area in Australia’s Warburton Basin that encompasses parts of South Australia, the Northern Territory, and Queensland.
It has indeed been a great month for revealing colossal devastators. Earlier last week, it was reported that twin impact sites in Canada could have been created by two separate meteorites that just happened to find almost the exact same spot on Earth, rather than twin meteorites that slammed into the planet simultaneously.
But when it comes to these two asteroid impact zones, Glikson and his team has gathered enough evidence to convince them that they were formed from the same meteorite that just split in two before impact.
“When we know more about the age of the impact, then we will know whether it correlates with one of the large mass extinctions [at the end of specific eras]. At this stage we do not have all the answers, but there has been a lot of interest and people are certainly interested in any impact on the dinosaurs.”
[Image Credit| Space Industry News]