A massive crater underneath the sea! Scientists discovered it was 5-mile wide!

A massive crater underneath the sea! Scientists discovered it was 5-mile wide!

Updated on August 18, 2022 16:16 PM by Emma Alice

Sixty-six million years ago, an asteroid from space slammed into the Earth's surface, leaving a massive crater underneath the sea and havoc on the planet. It's not an asteroid, a previously unknown crater 248 miles off the coast of West Africa. Usidean Nicholson, an assistant professor at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburg, reviewed survey data for a project on the tectonic split between South America and Africa. There found evidence of the crater beneath 400 meters of seabed sediment.

Related: Scientists discover a 5-mile wide undersea crater created as the dinosaurs disappeared

Impact of the crater!

Usidean said it was a very unusual crater that he had never seen before. It had all features the right ratio of crater width to depth, the height of the rims, and the height of the central uplift where a mound in the center was created by rock and forced up by shock pressure. An asteroid strike caused the crater, and it would be necessary to drill into the crater floor.

The impact of this crater is significant as they are very rare in the geological record. Mark Boslough, a research professor in Earth and Planetary Sciences at the University of New Mexico, confirmed that it had 200 confirmed impact structures on Earth. He was not involved in the research but agreed an asteroid probably caused it. It would help to study an underwater impact crater and help to understand the process of ocean impacts.

Also Read: How an asteroid ended the age of the dinosaurs

Consequences of cascading!

Nicholson hopes it was caused by an asteroid more than 400 meters wide into Earth's crust, and the crater is 8 kilometers wide. It was much smaller than the city-sized asteroid that caused the 100-mile-wide Chicxulub crater that hit off the coast of Mexico. A large earthquake with a magnitude of 6.5 – 7 and an air blast heard across the globe caused severe local damage across the region.

Around the crater, an exceptionally large tsunami wave was 3200 feet high that dissipated to around five meters high once it reached South America. In Russia, an air explosion in a smaller 50-meter-wide asteroid in 1908, known as the Tunguska event, flattened a forest across an area of 1000 square meters.

The crater was formed around 66 million years ago at the end of the Cretaceous period. The asteroid strike was linked to the Chicxulub impact, where an asteroid of this size hit the Earth every 700,000 years. The exact nature of the relationship with Chicxulub is important to understand what is happening in the inner solar system where two impacts are simultaneous.

Related: Scientists have discovered a dinosaur fossil that was killed in the asteroid attack

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