Scientists Date One Of The Largest Craters On Earth

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The age of a meteorite crater with a width of 31 kilometers that was found beneath a kilometer of Greenland ice has long perplexed experts. Despite the fact that glacier ice is very powerful at eroding rock, the Hiawatha crater has been extraordinarily well maintained. As a result of its location, speculation has risen that the meteorite struck as recently as 13,000 years ago.

Nevertheless, the crater, which is among the biggest on the planet, has now been scientifically dated, and it turns out to be much, much older than previously thought. The impact occurred around 58 million years ago, and blasted onto the surface of the Earth.
During the time of the asteroid’s impact, the Arctic was blanketed in tropical rainforest with temperatures hovering about 68 degrees Fahrenheit. According to Storey, who was one of the authors of a recent research on the crater that was released in the journal Science Advances, the crater’s residents would have included crocodiles and turtles.

While the Hiawatha hit crater is enormous enough to take up the city of Washington, it is smaller than around 90 percent of the approximately 200 previously identified impact craters on Terra. It is still unknown if the meteor that impacted Greenland caused worldwide climatic disruption in the same manner as the 200-kilometer broad asteroid that produced the Chicxulub basin in Mexico — which was responsible for the extinction of the dinosaurs. The Greenland meteorite, on the other hand, would have wreaked havoc on wildlife habitat in the near vicinity.

Researchers gathered sand and boulders from rivers coming from the glacier in order to determine the age of the glacier. The meteor impact would have caused the temperature of those samples to rise. A approach was used to determine their age, which included detecting the natural breakdown of long-lived radioisotopes found in the rock.