NASA eyes giant ‘meteorite’ crater beneath Greenland’s ice

NASA eyes giant ‘meteorite’ crater beneath Greenland’s ice

The newly discovered huge meteorite crater beneath Greenland's ice measures a little over 22 miles wide, and is freely considered one of the largest meteorite impact sites on the planet, as long as scientists confirm that it was created as a result of an impact between a large space rock and Earth. We will remind that earlier in Greenland under the glacier Hiawatha was found a crater nearly perfectly circular with a diameter of 31 km.

Mr MacGregor said: "The ice layers above this second crater are unambiguously older than those above Hiawatha, and the second crater is about twice as eroded".

According to data obtained by Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer instruments on NASA's Terra and Aqua satellites along with those from NASA's Operation IceBridge, the crater is about 22.7 miles (36.5 km) wide, which makes it the 22nd largest impact crater on Earth.

More specifically, this second ancient subglacial crater detected by the USA space agency stretches across about 37 kilometers under two kilometers of ice in northwest Greenland.

Now, after a couple of months, NASA has detected another asteroid-impact crater buried under two kilometers of ice in northwest Greenland.

Joseph MacGregor, a glaciologist leading a NASA team to scan Greenland for these phenomena, says an impact event within the past 2.6 million years, like an asteroid slamming into Earth, could be the cause of the crater or even both craters.

Researchers also studied data from commercial satellites and radar images of bedrock collected by NASA's Operation IceBridge.

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The potential exists that a collapsed volcanic caldera could have created the impression, but evidence indicating a volcano are absent. "Helping identify one large impact crater beneath the ice was already very exciting, but now it looked like there could be two of them". By employing computer models that can track the production of large craters on Earth, they found that the abundance of said craters that should naturally form close to one another, without the need for a twin impact, was consistent with Earth's cratering record.

Scientists have recognized about 200 affect craters on our planet, however that is exclusively the second time in historical past that a crater has been detected beneath an ice sheet.

'I began asking myself 'Is this another impact crater?

Vertical lines point to the suspected rim and orange triangles mark small peaks within a potential impact crater beneath Greenland's ice.

'But the areas of known volcanic activity in Greenland are several hundred miles away. The new crater is located about 183 kilometers away from the Hiawatha Glacier. Do the underlying data support that idea? Experts say that the crater was formed by a meteorite that struck Earth "less than 3 million years ago" and likely "rocked the Northern Hemisphere".

The latest crater is just 113 miles from the Hiawatha cavity and Nasa said it is "improbable but not impossible that this pair is unrelated".

Scientists are fairly certain the new crater really is from an impact.

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