Second Huge Meteor Impact Crater Discovered Deep Beneath Greenland Ice, Scientists Say

James Marshall
February 13, 2019

But it demonstrates once again that there are geologic mysteries sitting beneath glaciers, and makes you wonder whether there are more massive impact craters waiting to be found. It's just 113 miles (183 kilometers) from the other crater in the country, which scientists reported previous year.

Joe MacGregor, a glaciologist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, who participated in the discovery of a crater previously announced in November 2018 said: "We've surveyed the Earth in many different ways, from land, air, and space - it's exciting that discoveries like these are still possible,".

The Paterson crater had the researchers wondering: Is it at all related to the nearby Hiawatha crater? He found one faster than he expected. Image credit: MacGregor et al. "I sort of stood up from my desk and paced the hallways a little bit".

A mysterious crater formed by an ancient asteroid impact has been discovered buried beneath more than a mile of ice in Greenland.

The giant meteor crater five times the size of Paris was been found half a mile (0.8 km) under the ice in Greenland. "On the whole, the evidence we've assembled indicates that this new structure is very likely an impact crater, but presently it looks unlikely to be a twin with Hiawatha".

NASA researchers have spotted possible signs of a huge, ancient impact crater buried a mile beneath the ice in Greenland. With the radar data, scientists can "see" through the ice using radar waves that hit the bedrock below and bounce back.

To confirm his suspicion about the possible presence of a second impact crater, MacGregor studied the raw radar images that are used to map the topography of the bedrock beneath the ice, including those collected by NASA's Operation IceBridge. "Do the underlying data support that idea?"' MacGregor said. In fact, some amateur enthusiasts did. The discovery is described in a paper in the journal Geophysical Research Letters. The region of the newly discovered crater is highlighted. Unlike Hiawatha, the Paterson crater is beneath 2 kilometers of ice, making it far more hard to study and to gather the recrystallized rock that would result from a large impact. And, given the erosion caused by the waxing and waning of the glacier itself, it's probably not older than 2.6 million years.

That range seems to be older than the Hiawatha structure, which the was originally dated between 3 million and 12,000 years ago; researchers on that project suspected the alleged crater was on the younger side of that range. All together, it reveals tantalizing features of an impact crater.

The only other explanation for the newfound depression is that it's a volcanic caldera, MacGregor said, but volcanic rocks create magnetic anomalies that just aren't present in the new feature.

Mr MacGregor said: "The ice layers above this second crater are unambiguously older than those above Hiawatha, and the second crater is about twice as eroded".

The crater measures 19 miles (31 km) across, covering an area five times the size of Paris.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

Discuss This Article

FOLLOW OUR NEWSPAPER