(ORDO NEWS) — Scientists believe that several hundred million years ago, a large asteroid fell on the Earth, which provoked not only the appearance of a giant structure underground, but also the mass extinction of living creatures. Scientists named this object Deniliquin and its diameter is approximately 520 km.
This is larger than the size of the largest on Earth so far, the 300 km diameter Vredefort impact crater in South Africa. One of the study’s authors, Andrew Glickson of the University of New South Wales, Australia, details the new discovery, reported by Science Alert.
According to the scientist, after an asteroid falls to Earth, a crater with an elevated center is formed. This central raised dome is a key characteristic of large impact structures. However, it can decay over thousands and millions of years. Such structures can sink underground over time, or they can disappear due to the movement of lithospheric plates.
According to Glikson, in recent years, scientists have discovered signs of the existence of hidden impact structures that could have appeared as a result of the fall of an asteroid with a width of 10 kilometers or more.
It is believed that around 3.2 billion years ago, huge space rocks stopped falling on Earth very often, and since then it has only happened occasionally. And some of these impacts caused mass extinctions of living creatures, as happened after the fall of an asteroid 66 million years ago, when almost all dinosaurs disappeared.
Even 20 years ago, scientists assumed that after the impact of a huge asteroid on the continent of Gondwana, of which modern Australia was a part, a huge crater with a protruding dome was formed. And this crater was buried under the surface for millions of years.
New data have shown that a huge impact structure with a diameter of 520 km is still hidden deep underground in the territory of New South Wales. The Deniliquin object has all the characteristics that indicate that it appeared precisely as a result of the fall of a huge asteroid. At the same time, the structure is hidden at a depth of several kilometers.
Glikson believes that an asteroid fell in Australia about 445 million years ago, and this event could have caused not only a serious cooling of the Earth, but also the Ordovician-Silurian mass extinction of living creatures. As a result of this extinction, approximately 85% of the species of living creatures disappeared on the planet. And this is more than 2 times more than disappeared after the impact of the asteroid that destroyed the dinosaurs.
The scientist believes that perhaps the underground structure is even older and the impact of the asteroid occurred approximately 514 million years ago.
According to the scientist, so far all the data have been obtained as a result of research from the surface, but a deep hole must be drilled to find the final evidence of the voiced theory. It is necessary to collect samples of the rock and in this way it is possible to find out the true age of the Deniliquin object.
So far, although it has not been confirmed, scientists believe that the new underground structure is the largest on Earth, which arose as a result of the fall of an asteroid.
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