Topography of newly discovered green crater. Image: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center NASA has discovered a massive old crater buried…
Topography of newly discovered green crater. Image: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
NASA has discovered a massive old crater buried under two kilometers of ice in northwest Greenland. Surprisingly, the second crater has been discovered during the thick ice of the area in recent months.
Stretched over 36.5 kilometers (22 miles), the crater was probably formed by an asteroid impact over the last 2.6 million years, according to a study published Monday in Geophysical Research Letters . If the function is confirmed to be fallout by an asteroid strike, it is ranked as the 22nd largest battleground known on earth.
Scientists have identified about 200 craters on our planet, but it is only the second time in history that a crater has been detected during one ice. In November, NASA announced it had discovered the first underglacial crater buried under Greenland’s Hiawatha glacier, just 1
83 kilometers from the new site.
Inspired by that discovery, a team led by NASA Glacier Joseph MacGregor began scanning Greenland for other craters. The new crater seems to be bigger and older than Hiawatha’s percussion.
Both features were discovered using satellite images and aerial photos captured by NASA’s IceBridge operating aircraft.
Considering their proximity to each other, MacGregor and his colleagues reflect on whether these craters may have been formed by the same consequence event. Perhaps a binary asteroid system struck the earth, or an asteroid broke into two under atmospheric input.
But observations of the new crater’s topography reveal that it is much more obliterated than the Hiawatha crater, suggesting that they could not have formed simultaneously.
“The morphology of the second structure is the founder [and] its overlying ice is conformal and older”, writes MacGregor and his co-authors in the study. “We conclude that the identified structure is likely to be a battleground, but it is unlikely that it is a twin on the Hiawatha battleground.”
Read more: Researchers Discover Hidden Asteroid Crater During A Mile of Greenland Ice
The Hiawatha crater was probably formed over the past 100,000 years. It will take more research to limit the age of the other crater, but the odds are that it was created within the Pleistocene period, which began 2,588,000 years ago. Based on the estimated age of its ice cover, it was formed at least 79,000 years ago, the team said.
The structure still has no official name, but the authors recommended calling it Paterson Crater. This name would honor the late glaciologist Stan Paterson, who helped reconstruct climate data over the past 100,000 years with Greenland ice cores.
“It is possible to investigate underglacial craters under the green and antarctic ice sheets, as our discovery further emphasizes the ability of the ice sheet to both bury and preserve evidence of terrestrial consequences,” said the team. favorites from the motherboard every day by registering for our newsletter .