A team of researchers from the Australian National University’s Planetary Science Institute confirmed on Monday that two different scar zones in the Earth’s crust discovered in Southern Australia are remnants of the largest meteorite crater known to date, measuring about 250 miles in diameter.
Each of the two scars zones measure more than 120 miles, and they are related by the fact that the meteorite that caused them split in two pieces after entering our planet’s atmosphere. The impact zones are more exactly situated near the border between Southern Australia and Queensland to the northeast of the former.
The crater is no longer visible, with it being covered in time by geological evolutions, but prints of it have been found within the Earth’s layers during a drilling process for a project regarding geothermal energy. Scientists observed unusually deformed quartz layers, which led them to examine the area more carefully. Eventually, they observed scars in the layers that pertain to a meteorite impact.
One of the two impact zones of the fractured astral body had already been discovered five years ago, standing on its own as the third largest impact crater on the Earth. Combined, the two Southern Australian craters are larger than the South African Vredefort Crater, previous record holder with a diameter of about 230 miles.
The size of the perceived crater means that the violence of the impact probably had deathly consequences on the animal life and ecosystem of the Earth at the moment it
“The two asteroids must each have been over 10 kilometers (6.2 miles) across — it would have been curtains for many life species on the planet at the time,” said Andrew Glikson from the Australian National University’s School of Archaeology and Anthropology.
While there are no means to estimate the impact date, rocks surrounding the scarred area have an age varying between 300 and 600 million years, so the split asteroid must have hit Earth more than 300 million years ago. The Vredefort Crater is more than 2 billion years old in comparison.
Image Source: The Telegraph