Giant Collision Crater in Greenland

Giant Collision Crater in Greenland

Danish and Swedish researchers have unearthed the history of the massive Hiawatha impact crater, a 31 km diameter meteorite crater buried one kilometer under Greenland’s glaciers. This dating process, which puts an end to the speculation that the meteorite struck after the emergence of humans, opens the door to a new understanding in the evolution of the Earth in the post-dinosaur era.

Uncertainties about the crater’s age have been the subject of considerable speculation since researchers at the University of Copenhagen’s GLOBE Institute discovered the Hiawatha impact crater in northwest Greenland in 2015. Could this asteroid have struck Earth as recently as 13,000 years ago, during a time when humans had long resided on the planet? Had the impact of the collision accelerated a period of global cooling known as the Younger Dryas, which lasted about 1,000 years?

The answer is no, according to new analyzes of grains of sand and rock from the Hiawatha impact crater by researchers at the Danish National Museum of Natural History, the University of Copenhagen’s GLOBE Institute and the Swedish Museum of Natural History. The Hiawatha impact crater is actually much older. In the new study, published in Science Advances two days ago, the crater is reported to be 58 million years old.

Maps showing the impact crater. Image: University of Copenhagen Source: University of Copenhagen, Faculty of Science.

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