Scientists have discovered what they believe is one of the biggest impact craters in the world near the Falkland Islands.
First investigations estimate the age of the crater between 270 and 250 million years ago. In other words, during the world’s biggest mass extinction event, where 96 percent of life on Earth was wiped out.
The presence of a massive crater in the Falklands was first proposed by Michael Rampino in 1992. But after a brief report at the Falklands site, very little research was carried out.
Now, a team of scientists including Rampino went back. Their new findings show that the huge, 150 miles in diameter, circular depression just northwest of the islands is indeed the result of the massive impact of an asteroid or meteorite.
The results are consistent with other impact craters, with certain features being “very similar to that of the Chicxulub multi-ring impact structure.” such as a large magnetic anomaly, and gravitational variations “typical of very large impact structures.”
Researchers say the crater appears to date to the Late Paleozoic Era, overlapping with the Permian mass extinction event also known as the Great Dying. The crater dates to between 270 and 250 million years ago, but more investigations are needed to confirm this.
If confirmed as a site of impact, then this structure would be one of the largest known impact structures on Earth. If the proposed crater turns out to be 250 million years old, it could correlate with the largest mass extinction ever: the Permian extinctions, which wiped out more than 90 percent of all species.
So were all big mass die-offs triggered by giant asteroid impacts? That would be amazing!