Largest Known Asteroid Impact Crater Found In Australia

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Scientists have uncovered a giant asteroid impact zone spanning four hundred kilometers wide, in the central Australian outback. It’s the largest ever recorded.

Two massive meteorite impact craters spanning 400km wide and 19km deep, have been linked to one huge asteroid, creating an impact zone dwarfing that of the Chicxulub crater underneath the Yucatán Peninsula in Mexico.

It was discovered by scientists in the Australian outback. It is believed to be one of the largest ever created. Geophysicist Andrew Glikson, from the Australian National University, estimates the crater to be older than 300m years. Scientists are trying to establish its date more precisely, together with a pre-historic mass extinction event to match it with. It is already believed to have had a more significance effect on the planets evolution, than the impact crater in Yucatán, 65 million years ago which wiped out the dinosaurs.

Press TV reports:

A team of geophysicists from the Australian National University (ANU) said on Monday they found signs of a 250-mile (400-kilometer)-wide impact zone, from a huge meteorite, deep inside the Earth’s crust in the Warburton Basin – an area near the borders of South Australia, Queensland and the Northern Territory

The researchers discovered the largest impact zone ever found on Earth by drilling over a mile deep into the earth as part of a geothermal research as a surface crater from the impact has long disappeared.

An impact event, which is a collision between astronomical objects, can have significant physical and biospheric consequences.

Major impact events, such as extraterrestrial impact or internal geological change, have significantly shaped Earth’s history by causing periods of extreme environmental shifts over a time span of 4.5 billion years.

“Large impacts like these may have had a far more significant role in the Earth’s evolution than previously thought,” said the lead researcher, Andrew Glikson from the ANU’s Planetary Science Institute.

According to the findings published in the journal Tectonophysics, the massive asteroid had broken in two halves before hitting the Earth 300 to 600 million years ago, causing the fracture of the crust by intense heat and pressure at depths of more than 12 miles (19 kilometers).

“The two asteroids must each have been over 10 kilometers across — it would have been curtains for many life species on the planet at the time,” Glikson said.

The exact date of the impact crater remains unspecified, Gilkson said. “It’s a mystery — we can’t find an extinction event that matches these collisions. I have a suspicion the impact could be older than 300 million years.”