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World's Largest Asteroid Crater May be Hiding in Australia

Updated: May 31

Evidence suggests that the landmass of Australia - specifically under the state of New South Wales - could be concealing a massive, subterranean secret.

Map of Australia

In an article for The Conversation, geologist Andrew Glikson explains his latest research that indicates that an epic asteroid crater could be buried underneath the continent's south east corner - and all the evidence points to it being the largest ever 'discovered' on Earth, by a huge margin.

Known as the Deniliquin structure, Glikson estimates in his study, published in the journal Tectonophysics, that it's over 320 miles in diameter. That would be more than twice the size of the Chicxulub crater, believed to be from the asteroid that wiped out the dinosaurs 66 million years ago.

According to Glikson, the impact occurred roughly 445 million years ago, coinciding with what's known as the Late Ordovician mass extinction event that wiped out 85 percent of all life on Earth.

You may think that such a massive crater would be easy to spot but, as Glikson explains, "When an asteroid strikes, it creates a crater with an uplifted core. This is similar to how a drop of water splashes upward from a transient crater when you drop a pebble in a pool."

"This central uplifted dome can erode over millions of years, becoming less prominent. If the crater isn't simply buried by sediment, a collision between the Earth's tectonic plates could also subsume the structure, as one colliding plate is forced beneath the other."

Along with the discovery of the dome, there are several other strong clues that identify the structure as an asteroid crater, such as symmetrical ripples in the crust that would be caused by the extreme temperatures of an impact, and "radial faults" commonly found in other impact structures.

Thus far, most of the evidence gathered on the Deniliquin is only from the surface, and Glikson stresses the need for deep drilling to obtain "proof of impact." Hopefully, funding and approvals for this will be obtained in the not too distant future.


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