An international team led by researchers from the Center for GeoGenetics at the Natural History Museum of Denmark, University of…
An international team led by researchers from the Center for GeoGenetics at the Natural History Museum of Denmark, University of Copenhagen, discovered a 31-mile wide meteorite impact crater buried beneath the ice sheet in Greenland’s Hiawatha Glacier.
If confirmed, it would be the first impact crater discovered under one of Earth’s continental ice sheets said researchers from the University of Copenhagen in Denmark.
Signs of the crater were first detected by NASA’s Operation Icebridge, an airborne mission that uses radar to track changes in ice on Greenland’s ice sheet.
The researchers worked for the last three years to verify their discovery initially made in 201
According to the study published in the journal ‘Science Advances’, the crater measures more than 31 km in diam ether, corresponding to an area greater than Paris and greater than Washington DC which places it among the 25 largest impact craters on Earth.
An impact crater is a circular depression on a surface, usually referring to a planet, moon, asteroid, or other celestial bodies caused by a collision of a smaller body (meteor) with the surface.
The crater formed when a kilometer-wide iron meteorite smashed into northern Greenland but has since
The crater is exceptionally well-preserved, and that is surprising because glacier ice is an incredibly efficient erosive agent that would have quickly removed traces of the impact, “said Professor Kurt H Kjaer from the Natural History Museum of Denmark.
” So far, it has not been possible to date the crater directly, but its condition strongly suggests that it formed after it began to cover Greenland, so younger than
Close-up of the northwestern ice-sheet margin in Inglefield Country. The Hiawatha impact crater was discovered under the semi-circular ice margin. [Image: Natural History Museum of Denmark]
The crater was first discovered in July 2015 as the researchers inspected a new map of the topography under Greenland’s ice-sheet.
“Previous radar measurements of Hiawatha Glacier were part of a long-term NASA effort to map Greenland’s changing ice cover,” Joe MacGregor, a glaciologist with NASA, explains.
“What we really needed to test our hypothesis was a dense and focused radar survey there. The survey exceeded all expectations and depicted the depression in stunning detail: a distinctly circular rim, central uplift, disturbed and undisturbed ice layering, and basal debris – it’s all there. “
They noticed an enormous, but previously undetected circular depression under Hiawatha Glacier, sitting at the very edge of the ice sheet in northern Greenland.
“We immediately knew this was something special but at the s Ame time it became clear that it would be difficult to confirm the origin of the depression, “said Kjaer.
The 20-tonne iron meteorite sits in the courtyard at the Geological Museum in Copenhagen .
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