Meteor Crater From Greenland is Much Older Than Initially Thought

Meteor Crater From Greenland is Much Older Than Initially Thought
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Huge space rocks coming from the depths of the Solar System had left their mark on our planet. Luckily for us, there weren’t many of those rocks that were big enough to not get completely obliterated in the atmosphere due to air friction.

If you never heard about the Hiawatha crater that’s located underneath some ice sheet from Greenland, it’s time to do your homework. The crater measures a staggering distance of 19 miles wide. That’s over 30 kilometers!

The Hiawatha crater is millions of years older than previously thought

According to new research published in Science Advances, the Hiawatha crater from Greenland is millions of years older than scientists originally thought.

Initially, scientists believed that the crater formed only 13,000 years ago. But the new analysis of sand grains and stones from the crater reveals how far from the truth they were. Therefore, the age of the crater is 58 million years. As you’ve already guessed, the impact of a meteorite is what caused the emergence of the crater.

Michael Storey, who’s one of the leaders of the study, explained as USA TODAY NEWS quotes:

I used a laser to release argon gas that had accumulated in the sand grain by radioactive decay from a rare isotope of potassium known as potassium-40,

The argon gas was then measured on a very sensitive instrument known as a mass spectrometer, which allowed me to determine the age of the grain. It’s a bit like carbon dating, but with this technique we can work out the age of even the oldest rocks on Earth.

The age of the Hiawatha crater is now not too far away from the Chicxulub crater that was caused by the asteroid that killed the dinosaurs. That latter crater formed about 66 million years ago.


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Cristian Antonescu

Even since he was a child, Cristian was staring curiously at the stars, wondering about the Universe and our place in it. Today he's seeing his dream come true by writing about the latest news in astronomy. Cristian is also glad to be covering health and other science topics, having significant experience in writing about such fields.

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