Ancient Asteroid Crater Spotted In Scotland

It’s rare to see asteroid craters in the world today, as most of the meteorites that fall to Earth aren’t always as big as the ones you see in films and TV. Most are small, and they’re more common than you might think.

And so, when the location of an ancient impact made by the biggest asteroid that ever graced the lands of Britain was finally discovered, scientists were both surprised and excited.

Back in 2008, researchers from Oxford and Aberdeen were able to find traces and signs of the massive collision that happened in Scotland billions of years ago. However, it is only now that they are able to pinpoint where exactly the asteroid fell, finally finding the crater on a spot under the sea between mainland Scotland and the Outer Hebrides.

A decade-long search

The researchers were able to find it by testing rocks near Ullapool in north-west Scotland. The tests revealed that an object around a mile wide had previously crashed near Minch, a strait that separates the mainland and northern Inner Hebrides from Lewis and Harris .

Around 1.2 billion years ago, the collision made a crater that’s around 12 miles wide in diameter. It supposedly finished its 38,000 mph streak near Scotland, back when it lay close to the equator, at a time when most life in planet Earth still remained underwater.

According to the lead author of the study, Oxford researcher Ken Amor, the initial hints of the collision came to him around a decade ago, when he was in the Scottish highlands during a geology field trip with some undergraduates. Before they went home, the group first stopped in a small village to observe an unusual rock formation.

Previously, the red sandstone formation, called Stac Fada Member (SFM), was speculated by scientists to have come from a volcano. However, Amor found evidence of an asteroid strike after he took some samples home.

Now, Amor and his team believe that provided the sea has not eroded the crater away, doing a seismic reflection survey on it might help scientists trace it back to its “meteorite family” that’s still orbiting the Sun.

asteroid Experts warn another life-threatening asteroid could hit Earth in the future and wipe out the entire humanity. Pixabay