Earth’s oldest crater from space rock impact revealed

By Author  |  Published: 22nd Jan 2020  7:56 pm

The 70-kilometre wide Yarrabubba crater in Western Australia is the Earth’s oldest preserved impact structure by over 200 million years, according to a study which revealed that a meteorite hit the site more than 2.2 billion years ago.

The study, published in the journal Nature Communications, found that a meteorite hit the site 2.229 billion years ago by assessing the age of shocked minerals within the crater which revealed signs of impact related deformation and heating.

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According to the researchers, including Timmons Erickson from NASA Johnson Space Center in the US, the Yarrabubba impact structure is regarded as one of Earth’s oldest craters, but lacked a precise age until now.

Erickson and his colleagues assessed special minerals within the crater like monzogranite, zircon, and monazite grains, which they said preserved a range of impact-related microstructures.

Based on the analysis, the researchers said the precise age of the impact event could be 2.229 billion years with a margin of error of five million years.

According to the scientists this may have potentially played a role in modifying the Earth’s climate during this period.