Scientists confirm massive impact crater beneath Greenland’s ice

The crater is a whopping 19-miles wide

Image A CGI image of the crater which is a whopping 19 miles wide

An worldwide team of scientists came across the crater below the Hiawatha Glacier in north-west Greenland, believed to have been made when a kilometre-wide iron meteorite smashed into the country before it was covered with ice.

A team of researchers from the University of Copenhagen's Centre for GeoGenetics at the Natural History Museum of Denmark first spotted the crater in July 2015. The 3-D images clearly show all the hallmarks of an impact crater - a 19.3-mile-wide circular feature with a rim around it and an elevated central region.

At that moment Kjær thought about the carsize meteorite on display in the courtyard near his office in Copenhagen, which had coincidentally been recovered from the northwest of Greenland.

Researchers also found a channel where some of the melted water in the glacier was freely flowing - and used that to collect different rocks to look for more evidence of a high-impact collision.

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A massive iron meteorite smashed into Greenland as recently as 12,000 years ago, leaving a crater bigger than Paris that was recently discovered beneath the ice with sophisticated radar, researchers said Wednesday. The visualizations of the subsurface shown below are derived from a spring 2016 airborne survey by Germany's Alfred Wegener Institute, using a new ultrawideband radar sounder developed by the Center for Remote Sensing of Ice Sheets (CReSIS) at The University of Kansas.

Buried beneath a half mile of snow and ice in Greenland, scientists have uncovered an impact crater large enough to swallow the District of Columbia. "What we really needed to test our hypothesis was a dense and focused radar survey there". In the video below, NASA says that it is unlikely that another half-mile wide meteorite will strike Earth anytime soon, but they hope that studying recent impact craters like the one in Greenland is "essential to assessing the risk today".

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The crater was positioned at the very edge of the ice sheet, in the Arctic nation's deep north.

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Kurt Kjær collecting sediment samples from the crater's drainage system. "Despite the absence of such additional evidence, an impact origin for the structure beneath Hiawatha Glacier is the simplest interpretation of our observations", the authors wrote in their new study.

Some, including Kring, believe that the impact crater is not an asteroid, but Nicolaj Larsen is confident that it came from space, even if the impact to the planet's climate or life may not yet be known.

Researchers said they will continue to work to address what consequences if any, the crater caused for life on Earth and "how the meteorite impact at Hiawatha Glacier affected the planet".

Because the team has not yet searched for ejected material from the impact in ice cores, they can not establish an accurate date for the impact, beyond saying it occurred during the Pleistocene.

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