Australian scientists find Timor Sea meteorite crater

Last Updated: Thursday, May 20, 2010 - 17:52

Sydney: Australian scientists have discovered
a crater deep beneath the Timor Sea made during a heavy meteor
storm which may have altered the Earth`s climate, the lead
researcher said Thursday.

Australian National University archaeologist Andrew
Glikson said seismic activity led experts to the Mount Ashmore
1B site, and a study of fragments showed a large meteorite hit
just before the Earth`s temperatures plunged.

"The identification of microstructural and chemical
features in drill fragments taken from the Mount Ashmore drill
hole revealed evidence of a significant impact," Glikson said,
adding it was at least 50 kilometres (31 miles) wide and about
35 million years old.

A meteorite 100 kilometres wide hit Siberia at the same
time, along with an 85 km one in Chesapeake Bay, off the US
coast of Virginia, followed by a large field of molten rock
fragments over northeast America, he said.

"This defined a major impact cluster across the planet,"
said Glikson.

Glikson said the findings, published in the latest issue
of the Australian Journal of Earth Sciences, could suggest a
link between the impacts and a sharp fall in global
temperatures which preceded the formation of the Antarctic ice
sheet.

PTI



First Published: Thursday, May 20, 2010 - 17:52

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