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Giant Crater Found [in Antarctica]: Tied to Worst Mass Extinction Ever [Permo-Triassic]
SPACE.com ^ | June 2, 2006 | Robert Roy Britt

Posted on 06/02/2006 11:44:43 AM PDT by cogitator

An apparent crater as big as Ohio has been found in Antarctica. Scientists think it was carved by a space rock that caused the greatest mass extinction on Earth, 250 million years ago.

The crater, buried beneath a half-mile of ice and discovered by some serious airborne and satellite sleuthing, is more than twice as big as the one involved in the demise of the dinosaurs.

The crater's location, in the Wilkes Land region of East Antarctica, south of Australia, suggests it might have instigated the breakup of the so-called Gondwana supercontinent, which pushed Australia northward, the researchers said.

"This Wilkes Land impact is much bigger than the impact that killed the dinosaurs, and probably would have caused catastrophic damage at the time," said Ralph von Frese, a professor of geological sciences at Ohio State University.

How they found it

The crater is about 300 miles wide. It was found by looking at differences in density that show up in gravity measurements taken with NASA's GRACE satellites. Researchers spotted a mass concentration, which they call a mascon—dense stuff that welled up from the mantle, likely in an impact.

"If I saw this same mascon signal on the Moon, I'd expect to see a crater around it," Frese said. (The Moon, with no atmosphere, retains a record of ancient impacts in the visible craters there.)

So Frese and colleagues overlaid data from airborne radar images that showed a 300-mile wide sub-surface, circular ridge. The mascon fit neatly inside the circle.

"And when we looked at the ice-probing airborne radar, there it was," he said today.

Smoking gun?

The Permian-Triassic extinction, as it is known, wiped out most life on land and in the oceans. Researchers have long suspected a space rock might have been involved. Some scientists have blamed volcanic activity or other culprits.

The die-off set up conditions that eventually allowed dinosaurs to rule the planet.

The newfound crater is more than twice the size of the Chicxulub crater in the Yucatan peninsula, which marks the impact that may have ultimately killed the dinosaurs 65 million years ago. The Chicxulub space rock is thought to have been 6 miles wide, while the Wilkes Land meteor could have been up to 30 miles wide, the researchers said.

Confirmation needed

Postdoctoral researcher Laramie Potts assisted in the discovery.

The work was financed by NASA and the National Science Foundation. The discovery, announced today, was initially presented in a poster paper at the recent American Geophysical Union Joint Assembly meeting in Baltimore.

The researchers say further work is needed to confirm the finding. One way to do that would be to go there and collect rock from the crater to see if its structure matches what would be expected from such a colossal impact.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Government; Miscellaneous; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: antarctic; antarctica; australia; bushsfault; catastrophism; chicxulub; deccantraps; dinosaurs; extinction; godsgravesglyphs; impact; inconvenienttruth; permian; triassic
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I'd have to read more; I want to know why they think this impact occurred 250 million years ago. Still, it's cool that they found a really big impact structure in Antarctica.
1 posted on 06/02/2006 11:44:47 AM PDT by cogitator
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To: 2Trievers; headsonpikes; Pokey78; Lil'freeper; epsjr; sauropod; kayak; Miss Marple; CPT Clay; ...

* ping *


2 posted on 06/02/2006 11:45:17 AM PDT by cogitator
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To: cogitator

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1641966/posts

Not a dupe post but FR had it before Space.com

;-)


3 posted on 06/02/2006 11:46:12 AM PDT by LesbianThespianGymnasticMidget (God punishes Conservatives by making them argue with fools.)
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To: cogitator

Bush's fault. I don't know how, but he's behind it.


4 posted on 06/02/2006 11:46:18 AM PDT by theDentist (Qwerty ergo typo : I type, therefore I misspelll. 17,400+ snide replies and counting!)
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To: cogitator

Two days after the impact, Nancy Pelosi toured the devastated area and derided the administration for lack of leadership.


5 posted on 06/02/2006 11:47:20 AM PDT by trublu
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To: cogitator

Gravity fluctuations beneath East Antarctica measured by GRACE satellite. Denser regions appear more red; the location of the Wilkes Land crater is circled (above center). Credit: Ohio State University

6 posted on 06/02/2006 11:49:06 AM PDT by Red Badger (Liberals ignore criminal behavior, reward sloth and revere incompetence...........)
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To: cogitator

Cool post


7 posted on 06/02/2006 11:49:15 AM PDT by Woodstock
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To: cogitator
Just the landing crater for the Shoggoths.

Tekeli-li!

8 posted on 06/02/2006 11:49:38 AM PDT by akorahil (Thank You and God bless all Veterans. Truly, the real heroes.)
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To: cogitator
Now that's a big bang! If only there was one 1/8 that size heading for Iran! Probably still too big to just limit damage to that wonderful Islamic paradise!!
9 posted on 06/02/2006 11:50:00 AM PDT by Empireoftheatom48 (God bless our troops!! Our President and those who fight against the awful commie, liberal left!!)
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To: Red Badger
Should be...

THE Ohio State University

Thank you.

10 posted on 06/02/2006 11:51:20 AM PDT by Bosco (Remember how you felt on September 11?)
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To: cogitator

I gots to get my eyes checked. I thought it said "Judge Crater found....


11 posted on 06/02/2006 11:51:43 AM PDT by stylin19a (Some mornings, it's just not worth chewing through the leather straps.)
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To: SunkenCiv

ping as per our discussion on asteroids and comets


12 posted on 06/02/2006 11:52:26 AM PDT by sully777 (wWBBD: What would Brian Boitano do?)
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To: cogitator

The Boxing Day earthquake-tsunami changed time on earth by a second...one wonders if the impact knocked earth off its axis?


13 posted on 06/02/2006 11:54:58 AM PDT by sully777 (wWBBD: What would Brian Boitano do?)
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To: akorahil

LOL.

"It was a terrible, indescribable thing vaster than any subway train – a shapeless congerie of protoplasmic bubbles, faintly self-luminous, and with myriads of temporary eyes forming and un-forming as pustules of greenish light all over the tunnel-filling front that bore down upon us, crushing the frantic penguins and slithering over the glistening floor that it and its kind had swept so evilly free of all litter."


14 posted on 06/02/2006 11:54:58 AM PDT by dhs12345
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To: cogitator

Jeez - imagine the energy released from a 30 miles wide rock hitting the Earth. Amazing that anything survived.


15 posted on 06/02/2006 11:55:34 AM PDT by stacytec (Nihilism, its whats for dinner)
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To: Bosco

The? There is no other university in Ohio? You poor guys need to get some more football players.........


16 posted on 06/02/2006 11:55:41 AM PDT by Red Badger (Liberals ignore criminal behavior, reward sloth and revere incompetence...........)
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To: cogitator

ALGORE landed here about that same time didn't he? Need i say more?


17 posted on 06/02/2006 11:57:02 AM PDT by lexington minuteman 1775
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To: dhs12345
What a great story!

Ol' Howard P. Knew his stuff about horror, I will say.

18 posted on 06/02/2006 11:57:43 AM PDT by akorahil (Thank You and God bless all Veterans. Truly, the real heroes.)
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To: sully777

Thanks.

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1642426/posts?page=3#3


19 posted on 06/02/2006 11:57:54 AM PDT by SunkenCiv (https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/)
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To: cogitator

Very cool they found it. Jeez... 250 million years ago... You've got to wonder what earlier mass wipeouts occurred. There must've been many.


20 posted on 06/02/2006 11:57:56 AM PDT by LibWhacker
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