MessageToEagle.com - A gigantic meteor smashed into the ground of Canada 130 million years ago and left massive
This fascinating discovery was made by geologists from the University of Saskatchewan and the Geological Survey of Canada.
The structure, which is Canada’s 30th known meteorite impact crater, is approximately 25 km wide and has its location
on the northwestern part of Victoria Island.
Many wonder, how something so massive could lie undiscovered for such a long period of time.
Many more meteorites must have hit the Earth but there is now no trace of them, according to Prof Brian Pratt of
the University of Saskatchewan, who made the discovery with Dr Keith Dewing of the Geological Survey of Canada.
“Impact craters like this give us clues into how the Earth’s crust is recycled and the speed of erosion, and may be implicated in
episodes of widespread extinction of animals in the geological past.”
Although presented now for the first time, the crater named the Prince Albert impact crater was discovered two years ago.
In the meantime, the geologists were busy to explore the area by helicopter for the Natural Resources Canada Geo-Mapping
for Energy and Minerals program and properly assemble the geological maps.
The exact timing of the impact is impossible to pinpoint but evidence suggests the crater is younger than about
350 million years but older than about 130 million years.
Click on image to enlarge
Prince Albert impact crater, northwestern Victoria Island, western Arctic. A view from the helicopter of
river gorge showing steeply tilted sedimentary rock strata. These deformed beds represent the central uplift
caused by rebound after the impact Photo by Brian Pratt)
“Several geologists visited that area in the ‘60s and ‘70s,” Prof Pratt explained. “It was those old
industry reports of steeply tilted strata, unusual in the western Arctic, that had us intrigued.
Unless you recognized the telltale clues, you wouldn’t know what you were looking at.”
Geological Survey of Canada geologist Keith Dewing at the Prince Albert impact crater,
northwestern Victoria Island, western Arctic. Photo by Brian Pratt
“You might see a bunch of broken rocks and wonder how they got there, but we found abundant shatter cones.
These are radiating crack surfaces up to a meter in size that are formed from the enormous amount of energy
created when a meteorite slams into the Earth’s crust."
"Our map showed that the feature is circular which is characteristic of impact craters. It’s an exciting discovery.”
Click on image to enlarge
Wolfe Creek Crater is a meteorite impact crater (astrobleme) in Western Australia.,
It is accessed via the Tanami Road 150 km (94 miles) south of the town of Halls
The crater is central to the Wolfe Creek Meteorite Crater National Park. The crater
averages about 875 metres in diameter, 60 metres from rim to present crater floor
and it is estimated that the meteorite that formed it had a mass of about 50,000
tonnes, while the age is estimated to be less than 300,000 years (Pleistocene).
There are at least 160 known meteorite impact features (or astroblemes) on Earth and among the largest are the 180-km-wide
Chicxulub Crater which extends into the Gulf of Mexico and Sudbury Crater in Ontario, Canada.
While some astroblemes are almost 2 billion years old, about 60% were formed within the past 200 million years.
Click on image to enlarge
The Chicxulub crater in the Yucatan peninsula, Mexico, is not visible at the surface of the seafloor.
Scientists rely on geophysical images for information about its size and shape. The crater is believed to have
formed when an asteroid struck Earth 65 million years ago.
This impact is thought to have triggered fires and
tsunamis and created a cloud of dust and water vapor that enveloped the globe in a matter of days, resulting
in fluctuating global climate changes.
The extreme environmental shifts caused a mass extinction of 75% of
Earth's species, including the dinosaurs.
Click on image to enlarge
Barringer Crater on Earth
What happens when a meteor hits the ground? Usually nothing much, as most meteors are small, and indentations
they make are soon eroded away. 49,000 years ago, however, a large meteor created Barringer Meteor Crater in Arizona,
pictured above. Barringer is over a kilometer across.
In 1920, it was the first feature on Earth to be recognized as
an impact crater. Today, over 100 terrestrial impact craters have been identified.
Recent computer modeling now indicates how some of the Canyon Diablo impactor melted during the impact that created Barringer. Credit: D. Roddy (LPI)
And according to the journal Nature
the Sudbury structure in Ontario, Canada, for example, was a cause of controversy for many years.
At issue was how it was formed. Various geological events were proposed, but by the 1960s it was recognized as an impact structure.
Today the Sudbury Basin is an oval structure about 60 km by 27 km, but the original structure was over 200 km
in diameter, created 1.85 billion years ago by a meteorite about 10 km across. The crater, though, is still a
cause for controversy as geologists seek to explain how the composition of rocks in the region was affected by the impact.
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