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Home / Science / Greatest meteorite impact in Britain buried in water and rocks

Greatest meteorite impact in Britain buried in water and rocks



The site of the largest meteorite that hit the British Isles was eventually discovered in a remote part of the Scottish coast, 11 years after scientists first came up with evidence of the massive collision.

A team A group of researchers from the Institute of Earth Sciences at Oxford University located the crater about 20 kilometers west of the Scottish coast, where the feature was hidden beneath water and rocks that have helped to preserve it over the years. Scientists have published their findings today (June 9) in the Journal of the Geological Society .

"The material excavated during a huge meteor impact is rarely conserved on Earth as it erodes quickly," said Ken Amor, study director and researcher at the Department of Earth Science, Oxford University, in a statement . "So that's a really exciting discovery."

Related: The oldest meteorite collection on the driest part of the world

A close-up of globules that formed in the impact cloud and were later found in the deposit.

(Photo: © University of Oxford)

It is believed that the meteorite hit 1

.2 billion years ago when Scotland was a semi-arid environment near the equator, Oxford officials said in the statement , But there probably would not have been any observers of the impact, as most life on earth was still confined to the oceans at the time the collision took place on land.

"It would have been quite a spectacle if this big meteorite hit a barren landscape and scattered dust and stone debris across a wide area," Amon said.

Evidence of the collision was discovered in In 2008, scientists found large traces of iridium, a chemical found in high concentrations in meteorites in a rock stratum near the northern city of Ullapool.

Originally it was believed that the rocks were due to a volcanic eruption, but further analysis of their composition led the scientists to their earthly origins.

A microscopic view of shock quartz, the main evidence of a large meteor impact.

(Image: © University of Oxford) [19659009] "We are very happy to have [the rocks] available for study because they can tell us a lot about how planetary surfaces, including Mars, are modified by large meteor impacts ", John Parnell, Professor of Geology at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland and co-author of the 2008 paper, said in a statement at that time .

Using field data, the team of scientists determined the approximate direction the meteorite came from and used it to locate the crater.

Although thousands of meteorites hit Earth each year they usually leave much smaller bumps. In the past, larger impacts occurred more frequently, but today, thousands of small fragments of meteorites that hit Earth each year are largely unnoticed.

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