World's oldest crater found in Greenland - Israel Environment, Ynetnews

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Asteroid impact imaging Image: NASA
Asteroid impact imaging Image: NASA

World's oldest crater found in Greenland

Giant meteorite impact zone believed to be three billion years old discovered in West GreenlandNews agencies

News agencies
Published: 07.04.12, 07:27 / Israel Environment

The world's oldest meteorite crater – an impact zone spanning more than 62 miles wide – has been found in Greenland, scientists said Tuesday.


According to report, the crater was apparently formed about three billion years ago by a meteorite 19 miles wide.  


Should an impact of that magnitude happen today it would wipe out all higher forms of life.


Illustration of the impact (Screenshot)


The crater was discovered by scientist Adam Garde of the Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland and a team of scientists from GEUS, Cardiff University in Wales, Lund University in Sweden and the Institute of Planetary Science in Moscow .


The journal Earth and Planetary Science Letters said that only around 180 impact craters have ever been discovered on Earth. Around 30% of them contain important natural resources of minerals or oil and gas.


According to the report, "Early Earth, with its far greater gravitational mass, must have experienced even more collisions at this time – but the evidence has been eroded away or covered by younger rocks."


"The previously oldest known crater on Earth formed two billion years ago and the chances of finding an even older impact were thought to be astronomically low," the GSDG said.


The largest and oldest known crater prior to this study, the 300 km-wide Vredefort crater in South Africa, is two billion years in age and heavily eroded.



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