Environment ANU has unearthed the world’s largest asteroid impact in Australia

ANU has unearthed the world’s largest asteroid impact in Australia

A geothermal research project has uncovered the impact zone of meteorite segments in an area near the borders of South Australia, Queensland and Northern Territory. The two impact zones located in the Warburton Basin in Central Australia total more than 400 kilometres across and resulted from the meteorite breaking in two before impact. Each segment is estimated to have been over 10 kilometres long.

Geologists unearthed clues of the twin scars while drilling, finding traces of rocks that had turned into glass from extreme temperatures and pressures, similar examples of which have been seen at the sites of other major meteor impacts.

Lead researcher Dr Andrew Glikson from the ANU School of Archaeology and Anthropology says the exact date of the impacts remains unclear though suggests they could be more than 300 million years old.

The revelation may lead to new theories about Earth’s history. Dr Glikson believes this particular impact played a significant role in the Earth’s evolution. “It would have been curtains for many life species on the planet at the time.”

Location of the impact zones in the Warburton Basin in Central Australia [Google Maps]
Google_images.gizmag.com:gallery_lrg:australiaasteroidimpact-4 

Rock features showing shock metamorphic deformation in the mineral quartz from the Warburton Basin impact [abc.net.au]6341154-3x2-700x467

Source: The above story is based on materials provided by Australian National University.

[img source] NASA Marshall (CCA2.0), image is not related to article