A new and gigantic crater is discovered under the dense ice of Greenland

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New crater discovered in Greenland. / Goddard of NASA

In November of last year, an international team of scientists published a study which reported the discovery of a huge impact of a meteorite under the ice of Greenland. Now, three months later and beyond the expectations of many, another study announces the discovery of a new crater located 183 kilometers from the first.

Joseph MacGregor, a glaciologist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, was part of the team that discovered the first crater: Hiawatha. In 2016, when the team was still conducting research to publish the first study, McGregor was already looking for another new crater; however, finding one so early was completely unexpected.

"I was like," Could there really be another one? & # 39; " He said. LiveScience. "I got up from my desk and walked a little through the corridors." The results have been published in Geophysical research letters.


Topography of the Hiawatha crater and the surrounding area. / Goddard Space Center, Greenbelt Natural History Museum of Denmark, Cryosphere Science Laboratory, NASA

The new crater in comparison

The new crater has an extension of about 36 km, making it the 22nd largest ever discovered on Earth. In comparison, the Hiawatha has an extension of 31 kilometers.

In relation to the depth in which they are located, the new uncovered crater is buried under 2 kilometers of ice. The Hiawatha, on the other hand, has a depth of 930 meters. Both craters are located in the north-eastern part of Greenland

Determining the age of this new crater is a difficult task. The oldest layer of ice on this dates back almost 79,000 years; but the ice flows, so it's not a very significant indicator. The team suggests that this crater would be between 100 million and 100,000 years after having estimated its age from its erosion rate.

How did you locate the crater?

To find the crater, the research team had to use satellite images of Greenland's glaciers and radar data collected from the airplanes. The latter are very useful because the radar waves hit the subterranean rock and return, allowing you to know what there is through the ice.

The other data comes from satellites such as NASA Terra and Aqua and the IceBridge aerial reconnaissance program. It is important to remember that all this data is publicly available, so "anyone could find it", as MacGregor says.


Topography of the surface of the new crater in Greenland / Joe MacGregor, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

Adrian Díaz
This news was originally published in N + 1, science that adds.

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