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800,000 year old meteor crater that covered 10% of Earth in rock found

  • Published at 10:26 pm January 9th, 2020
meteor
Photo: Collected

Scientists were aware of the impact the meteor created but were unable to find the crater until just recently

Over the course of Earth's life many meteors have slammed into its surface, scientists know about the impacts but have struggled to find the craters, until now.

One meteor, in particular, crash-landed into Earth around 790,000 years ago, and the explosion that it created blanketed 10% of the Earth in rock debris. The debris was launched all the way from Indochina to eastern Antarctica and from the Indian Ocean to the western Pacific. 

Scientists were aware of the impact the meteor created but were unable to find the crater until just recently, CNN reports.

Through the analysis of geochemical and local gravity, scientists were able to pinpoint the impact location to southern Laos on the Bolaven Plateau. The crater was found under a massive field of cooled volcanic lava that spanned a ridiculous 2,000 square miles. 

According to a recent study, scientists estimated that the crater impact measured in at about 300 feet thick, 8 miles wide and 11 miles long. 

For the new study, the researchers first investigated several promising eroded crater candidates in southern China, northern Cambodia and central Laos, but soon ruled out those spots. In all cases, the suspected crater-like features turned out to be much older and were instead identified as erosion in rocks dating to the Mesozoic era — about 252 million years ago to about 66 million years ago.

On Laos' Bolaven Plateau, the scientists found a site where fields of volcanic lava might have hidden signs of an older meteor impact. In a region that the researchers targeted as a likely spot for a crater, most of the lava flows were also in the right age range: between 51,000 and 780,000 years old.

 

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