Biggest Ancient Asteroid Crater in the UK Spotted by Scientists

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The first evidence of the billion years old asteroid collision was found in 2008 close to Ullapool, NW Scotland. Researchers from Oxford University and also Aberdeen University discovered the space rock thought to be about one kilometer wide. The density and range of the junk deposit they found implied the collision crater was near the coast, but its exact location remained an enigma.

In research issued in Journal of the Geological Society, a team led by Dr, Ken Amor from the Department of Earth Sciences at Oxford University explains who they have discovered the crater location about 15 to 20 kilometers west of an isolated area of the Scottish coastline. The crater is buried underneath the water and younger rocks in the Minch Basin.

Dr. Amor said that the elements unearthed during the massive asteroid impact are not often preserved on Earth, because it is easily eroded, so this finding is impressive. It was randomly the meteor landed in an ancient split valley where other sediments rapidly buried the debris to conserve it.

Biggest Ancient Asteroid Crater in the UK Spotted by Scientists

Using a mix of field observations, the range of broken rock parts also called ‘basement clasts,’ and the arrangement of magnetic fragments, the team could estimate the direction the meteorite elements collected at a few locations and suggested the possible source of the crater.

About 1.2 billion years ago, the majority of life on our planet still existed in the oceans, and there were no plants of the soil. At that time, Scotland would have been located much more near the equator and in a half arid habitat. The environment would have looked like Mars when it held water at the surface.

Earth and many other planets may have encountered a high ratio of asteroid impacts in the faraway past, as they crushed with junk left over from the shaping of the young solar system. It is believed that impacts with an object around one kilometer across, happen once every 100,000 years to once every one million years. However, the calculations vary. One of the reasons for this is that the Earth’s record of massive collisions is not entirely known because craters are effaced by corrosion, burial, and plate tectonics.


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