Scientists Close In On Hidden Scottish Meteorite Crater
Researchers think the time has come for a full geophysical survey of The Minch, to see if the Scottish strait is hiding an ancient meteorite crater.
The idea that such a construction lies among the Western Isles and mainland Scotland was first raised back in 2008.
They found proof on the Highlands coast for the rocky debris that would have been created by a giant impact.
Now, the group from Oxford and Aberdeen academies trusts it can pinpoint where the space object fell to Earth.
Writing in the Journal of the Geological Culture, Dr. Ken Amor and contemporaries said this location is centered about 15-20km west-northwest of Enard Bay – part way across The Minch towards Stornoway in the Outer Hebrides.
The feature would be buried deep under the seafloor, they add.
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It’s an interesting prospect. The proof gathered so far advises the event occurred about 1.2 billion years ago when the continents were organized very differently from how they are now, and life on our planet would have existed almost completely in the oceans.
The key of supporting proof is a group of reddish-coloured rocks on the eastern side of The Minch known as the Stac Fada deposit.
These are resolute to be eject from the effect – the substantial hurled outwards when a 1-2km-wide object slammed into what was probably then some kind of rift valley.
The rocks are disjointed and contain melt particles, and also what geologists term shocked quartz – a type of mineral that has at some point been subjected to enormous burdens.
Shocked quartz is very often related with meteorite occasions.
The latest analyses of the Stac Fada deposit have now assumed the scientists some directional material that permits them to be more exact about where the ejecta came from.
“If you picture debris flowing out in a big cloud crossways the landscape, hugging the ground, finally that material slows down and comes to rest. But it’s the stuff out in front that breaks first while the stuff behind is still forceful forward and it overlaps what’s in front,” explained Dr. Amor.
“That’s what we realize and it gives us a strong directional pointer that we can trace backwards.
“Also, we’ve inspected the orientation of magnetic particles within the fabric of the rock at several locations, and this too allows us to triangulate back to an origin,” the Oxford researcher told BBC News.
The lines converge out in The Minch.
The team is investigative some seismic surveys that were done in the 1970s as part of an oil prospecting programmer, but they are of poor quality.
Similarly, they are examining gravity data. This directs something anomalous in the strait, but again it is all somewhat uncertain.
“What we really requirement is a new high-resolution geophysical survey – a 3D seismic survey,” said Dr Amor.
“Unfortunately, being offshore that would cost a lot of money. I shall be putting in a grant offer to do some seismic work. That would be a first step and would greatly assist the definition of any impact structure.”