Science

Giant meteor crater discovered in Greenland 

Pictured: The crater was discovered beneath Greenland's ice sheets. Source: Wikimedia Commons

By Lucy Bull

The discovery of the aftermath of a meteorite crashing into earth around three million years ago has been reported below one of Earths continental ice sheets.

Researchers predicted that the giant crater was the result of the impact of a meteorite falling to Earth, that has been revealed a great distance below the ice sheets in northwest Greenland. This is an exciting revelation in science, as a crater from the crash of a meteorite on Earth has never been found before in this location.

Members from the Centre for GeoGenetics at the University of Copenhagen were responsible for the finding of the enormous crater over two years ago, while analysing an unfound ‘circular depression’ at the base of the Hiawatha Glacier. The uncovering of the collision between the meteorite and earth was then disclosed when examining an advanced map of the topography underneath the ice sheets of Greenland.

With the use of new state of the art technology, a plane was flown over the glacier to document the measurements of the crater, revealing the extraordinary size of the crater from the events of the kilometrewide iron meteorite colliding into Earth.

Dr Iain McDonald, Reader at the School of Earth and Ocean Sciences at Cardiff University, played an imperative role as co-author of the research into the exploration of the colossal crater left behind.

A comprehensive chemical analysis was accomplished at Cardiff University, enabling researchers to understand how the crater and resulting obliteration underneath the ice sheets came about. Signs of various metals within the analysis indicated it was in fact the consequence of a meteorite. This was the evidence the scientists needed to confirm their predictions.

A large meteorite had been previously discovered in Cape York, that is in close location to the Hiawatha site in northern Greenland. This suggested it was an impact in this region that could explain the finding below the Hiawatha Glacier.

However, Dr McDonald stated how the signature found at the Hiawatha site was not the same as that found in Cape York and played a vital role in further research to explain the findings of the crater revealed beneath Greenland’s ice sheets.

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