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Scientists at ANU found the world’s largest asteroid impact zone in Warburton basin, Australia

Mar 25, 2015 11:02 IST

Scientists at Australian National University (ANU) found the world’s largest asteroid impact zone in the Warburton Basin of central Australia. The findings were published in the March 2015 issue of Journal Tectonophysics.

Dr Andrew Glikson from the Australian National University (ANU) School of Archaeology and Anthropology was the lead author of the study.

As per the study
• The impact zone is 400-kilometer (250-mile) wide area.
• It has a high-density of 2.9–3.0 gr/cm3 and high magnetic susceptibility of SI 0.012–0.037 at a depth of 6–10 km at the centre of the anomalies.  
• The structures are marked by deep-seated magnetic and seismic tomography anomalies.
• The asteroid broke into two before it hit, with each fragment more than 10km across.
• The impact occurred at least 300 million years ago, that is, it belongs to pre-Carboniferous era.

The impact zone was discovered during drilling as part of geothermal research, in an area near the borders of South Australia, Queensland and the Northern Territory.

The previous largest asteroid impact zone was found in the Vredefort crater in South Africa. It clocked in a diameter of 380 kilometers (236 miles). It is also the oldest known crater in the world as it is believed that the impact was formed about 2023 million years ago.


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