Madrid. Evidence of an asteroid impact crater 8.5 kilometers in diameter has been identified 300-400 meters deep in the Atlantic, 400 kilometers off the coast of Guinea in Africa.
A team of researchers from Heriot-Watt University believe the crater was caused by a 400-meter-wide asteroid that collided with Earth about 66 million years ago, around the same time Chicxulub hit the planet and wiped out Earth. the dinosaurs.
But they will need to drill into the seafloor and collect samples to prove their theory. If confirmed, the crater will be one of fewer than 20 confirmed marine impact craters found on Earth. The discovery is reported in Science Advances.
Uisdean Nicholson, a geologist at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh, found the crater by examining seismic reflections from the Atlantic seafloor.
“I have interpreted a lot of seismic data in my time, but I have never seen anything like this. Instead of the flat sedimentary sequences I was expecting on the plateau, I found an 8.5-kilometre depression under the seafloor, with very unusual features,” he explained in a statement.
“It has particular features that point to an asteroid, a raised rim and a very prominent central uplift, consistent for large impact craters.
“In addition, it has what looks like material ejected out of the crater, with very chaotic sedimentary deposits that extend for tens of kilometers outside the crater.
“The features are simply not consistent with other cratering processes such as salt mining or volcano collapse.”
Nicholson has named it Nadir Crater, after a nearby seamount.
Sean Gulick, an impact expert at the University of Texas at Austin, noted: “Nadir Crater is an incredibly exciting discovery of a second near-extinction Cretaceous-Paleogene impact.”
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