Researchers believe that the two huge underground craters that are buried under the central part of Australia are the scars of the largest and most powerful impact of an asteroid found on Earth. It seems that it was caused by a massive asteroid that split in half and hit the Earth with an incredibly powerful double blow.
Located at a depth of 30 kilometers (19 miles) in the rock, which is about 300-600 million years old, the double crater is buried under many layers of geological processes, but still left its mark in the earth's crust. It covers a vast area 400 kilometers (250 miles) wide in the Warburton Basin in Central Australia.
"Two asteroids should have been more than 10 kilometers across," said Andrew Glikson of the Australian School of National University of Archeology and Anthropology.
Compared to the famous Chiccoolub crater on the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico, which is believed to be responsible for the extinction of dinosaurs about 66 million years ago, this impact crater is simply huge. Crater Chicxulub is 180 kilometers (110 miles) in diameter and was caused by a single asteroid 10 kilometers in diameter. The impact zone in the Warburton Basin is twice as large. The discovery occurred when a research geothermal project took samples of rock from South Australia and the Northern Territory, which turned into glass, which is a sign of an ancient powerful blow. But only a repeated study conducted by the Glixon team made it possible to realize the degree of influence.
Magnetic modeling of the earth's crust in this region showed a bulge rich in iron and magnesium. These protrusions, originating from the mantle of the Earth (a thick layer of rock that separates the core from the crust), are ancient bruises on the Earth, left as a result of a catastrophic effect.
Although evidence of tremendous influence seems obvious, some secrets remain.
As a result of exposure to Chicxulub, a huge amount of garbage was released into the atmosphere and swept the entire globe, covering the surface with a layer of sediment. Rocks that are 66 million years old contain this material.
But there is no sign of precipitation in the rocks, whose age corresponds to 300 million years. In addition, the researchers found no signs of extinction of the fauna of that time.
"We have suspicions that the collision occurred much earlier than 300 million years ago," added Glikson.