Crater off Africa may have been left by baby cousin of the asteroid that killed the dinosaurs
Mysterious 5.2-mile-wide crater found in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of West Africa may have been left behind by the nephew of the asteroid that killed the dinosaurs 66 million years ago
- An impact crater about the same age as a dinosaur killer has been found
- Named Nadir Crater, New Feature Discovered Off Guinea Coast In West Africa
- The site is nearly 1,000 feet below the seabed and is 8.2 miles in diameter
- Experts think the asteroid that wiped out the dinosaurs had a companion
A mysterious crater found in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of West Africa may have been left behind by the nephew of the asteroid that killed the dinosaurs 66 million years ago, scientists say.
The new feature, called the Nadir Crater, was discovered 248 miles (400 km) off the coast of Guinea in West Africa.
It lies about 300 meters below the seabed and has a diameter of 8.5 kilometers.
The impact site isn’t as big as Mexico’s Chicxulub Crater, which was left behind by the asteroid that wiped out the dinosaurs, but it’s of a similar age.
It has raised questions about whether Earth was hit by more than one space rock during that catastrophic period in natural history.
If confirmed, it would also be of great scientific interest, as it would be one of a small number of known marine asteroid impacts, thus providing new insights into what happens during such a collision.
The depression was identified by Dr. Uisdean Nicholson, of Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh, who has been analyzing seismic survey data to better understand past climate changes on Earth.
Mystery: A crater found in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of West Africa may have been left behind by the little cousin of the asteroid that killed the dinosaurs, scientists say (stock image)
The impact site isn’t as big as Mexico’s Chicxulub Crater, which was left behind by the asteroid that wiped out the dinosaurs, but it’s of a similar age. It is about 300 meters below the seabed
KEY FEATURES OF THE NADIR CRATER
Convenient: 248 miles (400 km) off the coast of Guinea in West Africa
Depth: 1,000 ft (300 m) below the sea floor
Diameter: 5.2 miles (8.5 km
Size of asteroid: 1,300ft (400m)
Cousin? Chicxulub Crater
‘These studies are a kind of ultrasound of the earth. I’ve probably spent the past 20 years interpreting it, but I’ve never seen anything like it,” Dr. Nicholson. BBC news.
‘Nadir’s shape is diagnostic for an asteroid impact.
“It has a ridge that surrounds a central ramp area, and then layers of rubble extending outwards.”
The crater is just over 5 miles wide and Dr. Nicholson believes it was likely caused by an asteroid more than 400 meters wide that slammed into the Earth’s crust.
This was therefore much smaller than the city-sized space rock that created the 100-mile-wide Chicxulub Crater.
“Our simulations suggest that this crater was created by the impact of a 400-meter-wide asteroid in 500-800 meters of water,” said Dr. Veronica Bray of the University of Arizona.
This would have caused a tsunami over a kilometer high, as well as a magnitude 6.5 or so earthquake.
Location: Named Nadir Crater, the new feature was discovered 248 miles (400 km) off the coast of Guinea in West Africa
The depression (pictured) was identified by Dr. Uisdean Nicholson, of Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh, who has analyzed seismic survey data to better understand past climate changes on Earth.
“The energy released would have been about 1,000 times that of the January 2022 eruption and tsunami in Tonga.”
Nadir was identified using ‘seismic reflection’ as part of a wider project to reconstruct the tectonic separation of South America from Africa in the Cretaceous Period.
To make sure the crater was caused by an asteroid strike, Dr. Nicholson that scientists should drill into the crater and test minerals from the bottom.
However, it has all the features that experts would expect, including the correct ratio between crater width and depth, the height of the rims and the height of the central elevation.
The latter is a mound in the middle, created by rock and sediment pushed up by the shock pressure.
The discovery of the Nadir Crater function is published in the journal scientific progress.
REDUCE DINOSAURS: HOW A CITY SIZE ASTEROID DESTROYS 75 PERCENT OF ALL ANIMAL AND PLANT SPECIES
About 66 million years ago, non-avian dinosaurs were wiped out, wiping out more than half of the world’s species.
This mass extinction paved the way for the rise of mammals and the appearance of humans.
The Chicxulub asteroid is often cited as a possible cause of the Cretaceous-Paleogene extinction.
The asteroid slammed into a shallow sea in what is now the Gulf of Mexico.
The collision released a huge cloud of dust and soot that caused global climate change and wiped out 75 percent of all animal and plant species.
Researchers argue that the soot needed for such a global catastrophe could only come from a direct impact on rocks in shallow water around Mexico, which are particularly rich in hydrocarbons.
Within 10 hours of the impact, a massive tsunami ripped through the Gulf Coast, experts believe.
About 66 million years ago, non-avian dinosaurs were wiped out, wiping out more than half of the world’s species. The Chicxulub asteroid is often cited as a possible cause of the Cretaceous-Paleogene extinction (stock image)
This caused earthquakes and landslides in areas as far as Argentina.
While investigating the event, researchers found small particles of rock and other debris that were shot into the sky when the asteroid crashed.
These tiny particles, called spherules, covered the planet with a thick layer of soot.
Experts explain that the loss of light from the sun caused a complete collapse of the water system.
This is because the phytoplankton base of almost all aquatic food chains would have been eliminated.
It is believed that the more than 180 million years of evolution that brought the world to the Cretaceous Period were destroyed in less than the lifespan of a Tyrannosaurus rex, which is about 20 to 30 years.