Scientists find huge meteor crater under Greenland's ice

The crater is about 300 meters deep and 31 kilometers wide, and is the first to be found under any of our planet's ice sheets, according to NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center.

Posted: Nov. 18, 2018 3:55 PM
Updated: Nov. 18, 2018 4:09 PM

A team of international researchers has verified the discovery of the first meteorite impact crater ever found deep beneath the Greenland ice sheet.

Found under the Hiawatha Glacier, the crater is about 1,000 feet (300 meters) deep and 19 miles (31 kilometers) wide, according to NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center.

It was likely formed when a half a mile (800 meter) wide iron meteorite struck northwest Greenland less than three million years ago. It was then covered in ice, hiding it from view, NASA said.

A team of researchers from the University of Copenhagen's Centre for GeoGenetics at the Natural History Museum of Denmark first spotted the crater in July 2015.

The researchers were inspecting a new map of the topography beneath Greenland's ice sheet created by ice-penetrating radar data when they noticed a circular depression under the Hiawatha Glacier.

They suspected it was a crater and have spent the last three years examining NASA data and working with colleagues in the United States to verify their findings, which were published in the journal Science Advances Wednesday.

"The crater is exceptionally well-preserved and that is surprising because glacier ice is an incredibly efficient erosive agent that would have quickly removed traces of the impact," said Kurt Kjær, a professor at the Center for GeoGenetics at the Natural History Museum of Denmark and lead author of the study.

Kjær said the impact might have occurred at the end of the last ice age, which would make it among the youngest on the planet.

The research team plans to continue investigating how the meteor's impact affected the planet as a whole, NASA said.

Article Comments

Mason City
Overcast
48° wxIcon
Hi: 51° Lo: 36°
Feels Like: 41°
Albert Lea
Overcast
46° wxIcon
Hi: 47° Lo: 36°
Feels Like: 41°
Austin
Overcast
48° wxIcon
Hi: 50° Lo: 37°
Feels Like: 44°
Charles City
Overcast
50° wxIcon
Hi: 52° Lo: 36°
Feels Like: 50°
Rochester
Overcast
44° wxIcon
Hi: 45° Lo: 34°
Feels Like: 37°
Tracking rain and minor flooding into Sunday.
KIMT Radar
KIMT Eye in the sky

Latest Video

Image

Clear Lake Walleye Classic - Day 1

Image

State Track - Saturday 10 PM Highlights

Image

State Track - Saturday 6 PM Highlights

Image

Chris' Saturday PM Forecast 5/18

Image

Torrential rain causes Mason City flooding

Image

Mayo Paramedics graduate amid shortage of their kind

Image

Chatfield native takes different path to soccer stardom

Image

Beware of Lyme Disease

Image

"Humans of John Marshall" Exhibit

Image

Doctor and Artist is remembered by arts community

Community Events