Hiawatha crater, which is under the
Hiawatha impact crater shown in northwest Greenland (left); the crater is clearly visible (on the right) under the ice surface. Image courtesy of the University of Copenhagen
The asteroid was about 1.5 km across whenfell on the ground. Its impact likely triggered localized earthquakes and wildfires, said Michael Storey, co-author of the study and staff member at the Natural History Museum of Denmark. But there is no evidence that it has affected the global climate.
Scientists first discovered the crater in 2018 withusing radar. But given the massive block of ice that covers it, experts couldn't determine exactly when it appeared. The scientists collected and studied grains of sand and larger pebbles in the crater area, and the researchers found signs that they were suddenly and rapidly heated.
This close-up image showscrystals of the mineral zircon that act like a tiny time capsule, fixing the age of many events in Earth's history. Scientists dated zircon crystals to calculate the age of the Hiawatha impact crater. Image courtesy of Gavin Kenny, Swedish Museum of Natural History
Scientists have dated zircon crystals tocalculate the age of the Hiawatha impact crater. To do this, they used the argon-argon dating method. It turned out that grains of sand and pebbles were subjected to powerful thermal effects about 58 million years ago, in the late Paleocene.
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