Hiawatha impact crater in Greenland, formed ~58 million years ago

In summary, a massive asteroid impact occurred in Greenland 58 million years ago, creating the Hiawatha crater. This is older than previously thought and occurred in a temperate rainforest environment. The force of the impact was estimated to be millions of times stronger than an atomic bomb. This impact has also been compared to the Chicxulub event that led to the extinction of the dinosaurs. Continued research and exploration are shedding new light on these historic events.
  • #1
Astronuc
Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
2023 Award
22,004
6,566
Huge asteroid slammed into Greenland just a few (~7-8) million years after the dinosaurs died out
https://www.space.com/greenland-impact-crater-hiawatha-age

after several years of additional research, two separate teams of scientists have determined its age to be far older: 58 million years. Researchers from the University of Copenhagen's GLOBE Institute discovered the structure, which they suspected to be a massive 20-mile-wide (31 kilometers) impact crater, in 2015 beneath Greenland's thick Hiawatha ice sheet.

. . . scientists at the Natural History Museum of Denmark and the GLOBE Institute at the University of Copenhagen in the same country sampled sand from the Hiawatha crater and heated it, using the argon gas released from the grains to date the impact event.

Scientists from Swedish Museum of Natural History independently sampled rocks from the crater and dated them using the uranium fingerprint of the mineral zircon.
https://www.eurekalert.org/news-releases/945636?

At the time the researchers have pinpointed, Greenland was not covered in an ice sheet, but rather was home to a temperate rainforest. When the asteroid that created the crater impacted Earth, it did so with a force estimated to be several million times stronger than that of an atomic bomb. While that impact certainly would have annihilated a large part of Greenland, scientists are not sure of the impact's effect on global climate.

That uncertainty is in contrast to the most famous asteroid impact, which formed the Chicxulub crater in Mexico and eradicated most of the dinosaurs 66 million years ago, just a few million years prior to the Greenland impact. The Chicxulub crater is nearly 6.5 times larger than Hiawatha.

A Late Paleocene age for Greenland’s Hiawatha impact structure​

https://www.science.org/doi/10.1126/sciadv.abm2434
 
  • Informative
Likes neilparker62
Earth sciences news on Phys.org
  • #3
Wow, this is really fascinating! It's amazing how much we are still learning about our planet's history and the impact of these massive asteroid events. The fact that the Hiawatha crater is even older than previously thought just goes to show how much we still have to uncover.

I find it really interesting that the impact occurred in a temperate rainforest environment. I wonder how that would have affected the immediate aftermath and long-term effects on the climate. It's also incredible to think about the force of the impact being millions of times stronger than an atomic bomb. It's hard to even imagine the devastation it must have caused.

The comparison to the Chicxulub impact and the extinction of the dinosaurs is also really thought-provoking. It's crazy to think that these two events happened relatively close together in geological time. I'm curious to see how this new information about the Hiawatha crater will impact our understanding of the Chicxulub event and its effects on the planet.

Thanks for sharing this update! It just goes to show how much we can learn from continued research and exploration.
 

Related to Hiawatha impact crater in Greenland, formed ~58 million years ago

What is the Hiawatha impact crater in Greenland?

The Hiawatha impact crater is a large, circular depression located in northwest Greenland. It was formed approximately 58 million years ago by a meteorite impact.

How big is the Hiawatha impact crater?

The Hiawatha impact crater has a diameter of about 31 kilometers and is estimated to be over 1 kilometer deep. It is one of the largest impact craters on Earth.

What evidence supports the theory that the Hiawatha impact crater was formed by a meteorite?

Scientists have found high concentrations of shocked quartz and other impact-related minerals in the sediment layers surrounding the Hiawatha crater. These minerals are only formed under extreme pressure and temperature, indicating a high-velocity impact. Additionally, the circular shape and size of the crater are consistent with other known impact craters.

How did the Hiawatha impact crater remain hidden for so long?

The Hiawatha impact crater was hidden under a thick layer of ice until it was discovered in 2015 using satellite imagery. The extreme cold and remote location of Greenland also made it difficult for scientists to explore the area until recent advancements in technology.

What can studying the Hiawatha impact crater tell us about the Earth's history?

The Hiawatha impact crater provides valuable information about the Earth's geological and environmental history. By studying the impact site and the surrounding sediment layers, scientists can learn more about the impact event itself, as well as the effects it had on the Earth's climate and ecosystems. This information can also help us better understand the potential impact of future meteorite strikes.

Similar threads

Replies
2
Views
1K
  • Earth Sciences
Replies
8
Views
4K
Replies
2
Views
4K
Replies
7
Views
4K
Replies
1
Views
528
  • Aerospace Engineering
Replies
19
Views
3K
  • General Discussion
Replies
33
Views
4K
Replies
7
Views
3K
  • Art, Music, History, and Linguistics
Replies
2
Views
2K
Replies
4
Views
913
Back
Top