(ORDO NEWS) — The first impact crater in Spain was found in the southern province of Almería.
The discovery was presented last week at the European Science Congress (EPSC) 2022 by Juan Antonio Sánchez Garrido of the University of Almería.
This is the first study to reveal evidence of an impact crater in the Iberian Peninsula.
The discovery is the result of 15 years of research by an international team of scientists from the University of Almería, the Astrobiological Center of Madrid, the University of Lund and the University of Copenhagen.
Professor Sanchez Garrido said: “We believe the impact happened about 8 million years ago. We have explored numerous aspects of the geology, mineralogy, geochemistry and geomorphology of the region.
The Alhabia and Tabernas basins in this area are filled with sediments ranging in age from 5 to 23 million years, and they overlie older metamorphic rocks.
Most of the impact structure is buried under more recent deposits, but erosion has exposed it and opened up opportunities for research.”
The crater itself is believed to be about 4 kilometers in diameter, and is surrounded by a larger structure about 20 kilometers across, where the impact caused the sedimentary layers to collapse.
Evidence for an impact crater includes several examples of shock grains of quartz in a breccia, a type of sedimentary rock with large fragments cemented into a finer-grained matrix.
The grains show signs of deformation due to the enormous pressure from 10 to 30 GPa.
“If the discovery of the crater is confirmed, it will not only be exciting from a scientific point of view, but will also be a great addition to the scientific and tourist attractions of the province of Almeria,” said Prof. Sanchez Garrido.
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