The International Information Center for Geotechnical Engineers

Friday, 23 November 2018 01:00

Huge meteor crater discovered in Greenland

Huge meteor crater discovered in Greenland Huge meteor crater discovered in Greenland.

Geologists have discovered a massive crater beneath the ice sheet of Greenland.

The crater was formed after a one-mile wide iron meteorite struck a northwest region of Greenland at a speed of 19 km per second. Until today, the existence of the crater remained unknown as it was covered in ice, according to NASA. The impact occurred less than 3 million years ago.

The weight of the meteorite would have been around 10 billion tons while the impact would have released 47 times more energy than the nuclear bomb in Hiroshima, 1945.

The crater was spotted in 2015 when scientists from the University of Copenhagen's Centre for GeoGenetics tracked a large depression in NASA radar images of the bedrock in the area. Images were collected using radar-sounding data between 1997 and 2014 for NASA's Program for Arctic Regional Climate Assessment and Operation IceBridge.

The team visited the site in May 2016 in order to make an extensive investigation. A new, sophisticated radar method, developed at the University of Kansas, was utilized to map the underlying rock. "You can see the rounded structure at the edge of the ice sheet, especially when flying high enough," said electrical engineer John Paden of the University of Kansas. "Using satellite imagery taken at a low sun angle that accentuates hills and valleys in the ice sheet's terrain - you can really see the circle of the whole crater in these images," he added.

Researchers recently published their study. Lead author and professor at the Center for GeoGenetics at the Natural History Museum of Denmark, Kurt Kjær, stated: "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."

In the future, scientists will collect nearby debris that could be related to the impact. Moreover, they will try to find a method to obtain samples from the crater under the ice.


Read 282 times Last modified on Friday, 23 November 2018 15:36


Massive Crater Discovered Under Greenland Ice

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