Scientists from Oxford and Aberdeen Universities have discovered the site of the biggest meteorite impact ever to hit the British Isles.
Scientists found evidence or the ancient, 1.2 billion years old, meteorite strike in 2008., They discovered the site buried beneath both water and younger rocks in the Minch Basin. It is expected to be 1.2 billion years old, meteorite strike is located near Ullapool, NW Scotland- 15-20km west of a remote part of the Scottish coastline.
The thickness and extent of the debris deposit suggested that the crater is the result of meteorite estimated at 1km wide.
Dr. Ken Amor from the Department of Earth Sciences at Oxford University said, “The material excavated during a giant meteorite impact is rarely preserved on Earth because it is rapidly eroded, so this is a really exciting discovery. It was purely by chance this one landed in an ancient rift valley where fresh sediment quickly covered the debris to preserve it.”
“The next step will be a detailed geophysical survey in our target area of the Minch Basin.”
Using a combination of field observations, the distribution of broken rock fragments known as basement clasts and the alignment of magnetic particles, the team was able to gauge the direction the meteorite material took at several locations and plotted the likely source of the crater.
Dr. Ken Armor said, “It would have been quite a spectacle when this large meteorite struck a barren landscape, spreading dust and rock debris over a wide area.”
According to Amor, a similar event may take place in the future given the number of asteroid and comet fragments floating around in the solar system.
The study is published today in the Journal of the Geological Society.