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Giant Impact Crater Found In Australia

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the convict-labor-can-fill-it-back-in dept.

Earth 109

An anonymous reader writes "One of the largest meteorite impacts in the world has been discovered in the South Australian outback by geothermal researchers. It may explain one of the many extinction events in the past 600 million years, and may contain rare and exotic minerals. The crater is said to have been 'produced by an asteroid six to 12 km across' — which is really big!"

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discovered? (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34035406)

Uh... where was it hiding?

Re:discovered? (4, Insightful)

LingNoi (1066278) | more than 3 years ago | (#34035414)

Obviously not in the article.. not even one damn picture of it..

Re:discovered? (5, Informative)

captainpanic (1173915) | more than 3 years ago | (#34035428)

Obviously not in the article.. not even one damn picture of it..

It is very difficult to photograph something that is 80-160 km across and buried under many layers of sediments... that may have something to do with the lack of pictures.
TFA doesn't mention when the discovery was made, so it is hard to say how much time they've had to produce some images for the media.

I can imagine that specialized satellites can scan the area for geological differences. But I imagine that Google Maps shows no sign of this crater at all.

Re:discovered? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34035888)

Actually, something like a crater is visible on google earth in the thereabouts:

http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&source=s_q&hl=en&geocode=&q=cooper+basin&sll=37.0625,-95.677068&sspn=37.462243,86.572266&ie=UTF8&hq=&hnear=Cooper+Basin&ll=-29.97397,139.229736&spn=5.128729,15.007324&t=h&z=7 [google.com]

See the rocks that trace a somewhat squarish circle around the yellow soil.

Not 100% sure if this is it, but it sure looks like some of them older lunar craters.

Re:discovered? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34036018)

I just see a face

Re:discovered? (1)

delinear (991444) | more than 3 years ago | (#34036320)

Looks kind of like the Scream mask face. Maybe this whole crater thing is just going to turn out to be a promo stunt for the new movie.

Re:discovered? (1)

Cloud K (125581) | more than 3 years ago | (#34036134)

A squareish circle. Is it also a largeish small one, maybe also blackish white? :)

Re:discovered? (1)

SilverEyes (822768) | more than 3 years ago | (#34037700)

Maybe he means a Squircle [wikipedia.org] ?

Re:discovered? (1)

Fluffeh (1273756) | more than 3 years ago | (#34042862)

Maybe he means a Squircle [wikipedia.org] ?

I can't believe you just said that.

Re:discovered? (1)

LordNimon (85072) | more than 3 years ago | (#34040074)

They could have included an aerial picture of the area, or at least a map, showing where it is buried.

Re:discovered? (2, Informative)

Trogre (513942) | more than 3 years ago | (#34035462)

Okay so they say in TFA that the crater has most likely eroded away, but they could have at least shown a map of the region with a yellow circle to indicate where they think it is.

Re:discovered? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34035548)

> they could have at least shown a map of the region with a yellow circle to indicate where they think it is.

They said the geothermal researcher who discovered this crater was working in the Cooper Basin, South Australia.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cooper_Basin

This is where it is:

http://www.hydrocarbons-technology.com/projects/CooperbasinAust/images/2-cooper-basin.jpg

The geothermal energy project in that area of the world is near the town of Innaminka.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Innamincka,_South_Australia
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Innamincka_location_map_in_South_Australia.PNG

The geothermal energy project is there because the earth's crust at that location is unusually thin.

http://www.smh.com.au/news/environment/hot-rock-power-the-way-ahead/2007/04/11/1175971183212.html
http://www.adelaide.edu.au/adelaidean/issues/9461/news9469.html

The earth's thin crust in that area may actually have something to do with the impact crater.

This is a quite remote part of the world. Desert. There is almost nothing there.

It is not really surprising that this impact crater has not been discovered up until now.

Re:discovered? (3, Interesting)

flyingfsck (986395) | more than 3 years ago | (#34035736)

That impact crater is dwarfed by some other structures on earth: The Bushveld complex in South Africa is several hundred kilometers across, but it is so old (> 2 billion years = half the age of the earth) that it is not clear how it formed. Either a gigantic volcano, or a gigantic metor impact could have caused it.

Re:discovered? (1)

Fluffeh (1273756) | more than 3 years ago | (#34042900)

The earth's thin crust in that area may actually have something to do with the impact crater.

Or possibly the impact has caused the crust to be thin in this area. Such a large impact certainly would have had an effect on the entire thickness of the crust in that area.

Obama's a pussy. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34035918)

Your self-evident truth of the day. How's that Hope and Change smelling 2 years later? A bit rancid, no? So much for a new era of politics, post-racialism, and government transparency. The funniest thing has been watching all those wide-eyed 18-year-olds voting for the first time realize that this shiny new suit that distracted them all during the election season was in fact empty, and that the President in fact does not have the powers of an emperor. Lot, fucking twits.

But how much energy is that? (3, Interesting)

Zaphodox (1751752) | more than 3 years ago | (#34035422)

Okay so they give widely varying estimates of the crater's size - assuming the centre value of 120 Km a +/- 60 Km ia one hell of a margin of error. I imagine that the energy released from such an impact is orders of magnitude greater than any nuke we could ever throw at each other. The article metions the release of CO2, but i thought that by definition asteroids were just lumps of rock. So where does the CO2 come from after the impact?

Re:But how much energy is that? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34035450)

The article metions the release of CO2, but i thought that by definition asteroids were just lumps of rock. So where does the CO2 come from after the impact?

Carbon and Oxygen react in the right circumstances. Wouldn't be all that unrealistic for the rock to have huge deposits of carbon on them. earth has oxygen. Huge energy transfer, various other unknown variables and here we are, all we can tell is that yes, CO2 was released.

Re:But how much energy is that? (1)

zhong-guo-1 (1929014) | more than 3 years ago | (#34037056)

Who are we?

Re:But how much energy is that? (3, Interesting)

Trogre (513942) | more than 3 years ago | (#34035468)

I would guess the ground. When a meteor hits land, a lot of the ejected material is from the ground, not the meteor itself. Rocks apparently have a lot of oxygen and carbon locked up in them.

Especially limestone (3, Informative)

wiredog (43288) | more than 3 years ago | (#34036114)

Limestone is calcium carbonate, which releases tons of CO2 when burned.

Re:Especially limestone (1)

Fluffeh (1273756) | more than 3 years ago | (#34042920)

Limestone is calcium carbonate, which releases tons of CO2 when burned.

Unless you only burn a few kilograms. Then it releases kilograms of CO2.

*gulps more coffee*

Nine times out of ten (1)

drainbramage (588291) | more than 3 years ago | (#34045694)

Not going to ask, I have to call my ex while I am still laughing.
And feeling vaguely vindicated.

Re:But how much energy is that? (2, Informative)

rve (4436) | more than 3 years ago | (#34035556)

Maybe it crashed into a limestone formation? Limestone (and other carbonate rock like marble and karst) are basically giant lumps of CO2.

Re:But how much energy is that? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34035976)

Yup, it's the same reaction used in making cement. And it seems ignorance of chemistry = insightful.

Re:But how much energy is that? (2, Informative)

bigrockpeltr (1752472) | more than 3 years ago | (#34037580)

jsut to correct your (minor) mistake, karst is not a type of rock, it is a type of topography used to refer to geological features made from (usually eroded) carbonate rock and include caves (including stalactites, stalagmites and other cave formations), aquiefers, dolines, sinkholes etc. Cockpit country in Jamaica is a good example of karst topography

Re:But how much energy is that? (1)

rossdee (243626) | more than 3 years ago | (#34035998)

The earths crust contains carbon, and this impact would have vaporized a lot of that. Also there would be molten bits of rock flung over the whole planet, causing a global firestorm from whatever vegetation was around at the time.

Re:But how much energy is that? (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 3 years ago | (#34036508)

Depends on what it hits. If it hits a bed of limestone, that could release a lot of CO2. That's supposed to have happened at Chicxulub (the impact on Mexico's Yucatan peninsula) which is thought to be at least a contributor to the extinction of the dinosaurs). Also 300 million years ago, there would have been a lot of forest to burn.

Re:But how much energy is that? (2, Informative)

careysub (976506) | more than 3 years ago | (#34036572)

Okay so they give widely varying estimates of the crater's size - assuming the centre value of 120 Km a +/- 60 Km ia one hell of a margin of error. I imagine that the energy released from such an impact is orders of magnitude greater than any nuke we could ever throw at each other. The article metions the release of CO2, but i thought that by definition asteroids were just lumps of rock. So where does the CO2 come from after the impact?

It is about 100,000 megatons, at its peak the world nuclear arsenal had around 20,000 megatons.

CO2 is released if the asteroid impacts a carbonate rock bed - it then releases the CO2 just like a giant cement kiln (which is a major source of human CO2 release BTW - about 5% of the global release).

Where? (4, Informative)

DeathToBill (601486) | more than 3 years ago | (#34035472)

TFA doesn't mention a location. There is a roughly circular sort of feature in about the right place and about the right size centred here:

http://maps.google.com.au/?ie=UTF8&ll=-28.614665,141.139984&spn=0.806518,1.234589&t=h&z=10 [google.com.au]

You can see it better if you zoom out a couple of steps. It's not very well defined, and may just be wishful thinking on my part!

Re:Where? (3, Funny)

atomicstrawberry (955148) | more than 3 years ago | (#34035642)

You're looking for a roughly circular feature? I think this is a more likely spot personally:

http://maps.google.com.au/maps?sll=-28.87835,141.047974&sspn=4.39095,8.453979&ll=-35.310258,149.125156&spn=0.015987,0.033023&t=h&z=16 [google.com.au]

Re:Where? (1)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 3 years ago | (#34035834)

You beat me to it.

Re:Where? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34037128)

I'm surprised that wasn't a goatse link.

Re:Where? (1)

treeves (963993) | more than 3 years ago | (#34041320)

Here's a circular feature in southern central interior Australia, and all the street names around it come from minerals:
http://maps.google.com.au/maps?sll=-28.87835,141.047974&sspn=4.39095,8.453979&ll=-35.310258,149.125156&spn=0.015987,0.033023&t=h&z=16 [google.com.au]

Re:Where? (1)

Greg01851 (720452) | more than 3 years ago | (#34036324)

Re:Where? (1)

Coren22 (1625475) | more than 3 years ago | (#34039694)

Every time someone links to this cooper basin, it never seems to work...I still have yet to see it in the map. But anyways, yes, it is Cooper Basin that the article speaks of.

Re:Where? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34036484)

The whole basin is THE impact crater, nobody could see this ?

Re:Where? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34045136)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acraman_crater

Hmm, South Australia seems to be a popular landing place for large rocks?

Google Maps (1)

skywatcher2501 (1608209) | more than 3 years ago | (#34035496)

In case someone has some spare time to look for the crater on Google Maps: map link [google.com] Cooper Basin [hydrocarbo...nology.com]

Meh, I've seen bigger... (1)

volcanopele (537152) | more than 3 years ago | (#34035506)

Seriously, a 80-160 km crater is not giant. Big, okay, they don't form every day, but there are much bigger craters than that. Like Menrva on Titan.

Re:Meh, I've seen bigger... (0)

interactive_civilian (205158) | more than 3 years ago | (#34035594)

It doesn't have to be the biggest crater. Just big enough. An impact of that magnitude would have major catastrophic effects on the whole planet.

And, for what it's worth, I think pretty much the entire northern hemisphere of Mars wins any "I've seen bigger" contest. Link [nature.com] (and a PDF link [diggernet.net] for those without Nature access)

Re:Meh, I've seen bigger... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34035606)

I've always wondered what damage we'd see if an asteroid that size is dropped from a height of 1km. Would there be devastation (apart from those directly in the firing line)?

Re:Meh, I've seen bigger... (2, Informative)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 3 years ago | (#34036432)

As a quick guess I'd say the destruction would be limited to a relatively small area of the planet. You'd have total devastation within a radius of maybe a few hundred kilometers, but the rest of the planet would be fine. You wouldn't have ash encircling the planet and blocking out the sun as with a Chicxulub-type impact (which is by far the most devastating effect of a large asteroid impact to life on a planet), although you may still get some smaller Eyjafjallajokull-size ash clouds.

Now if it landed in the ocean you'd have serious mega-tsunamis that would wipe out of a lot of coastal areas all around the world, but again not devastating on a planetary scale.

Just my somewhat-educated guess.

Re:Meh, I've seen bigger... (1, Interesting)

dachshund (300733) | more than 3 years ago | (#34037738)

You wouldn't have ash encircling the planet and blocking out the sun as with a Chicxulub-type impact (which is by far the most devastating effect of a large asteroid impact to life on a planet), although you may still get some smaller Eyjafjallajokull-size ash clouds. Now if it landed in the ocean you'd have serious mega-tsunamis that would wipe out of a lot of coastal areas all around the world, but again not devastating on a planetary scale.

Well, don't take it as fact, but the geologist who discovered this said (from the TFA):

"Nothing within a few hundred kilometres of the blast would have survived, but more importantly the climate of the entire Earth would have been changed. It would have filled the atmosphere with so much dust that sunlight would be obscured, possibly for several years, killing a large amount of plant life on which animals obviously rely, thereby causing a global kill event - although perhaps not on the scale of the impact that wiped out the dinosaurs."

Also, there was a recent study [indiatimes.com] that suggested an asteroid impact in the ocean could cause massive devastation of the ozone layer, with all sorts of nasty effects for plant life. That was for a 1km asteroid. Still theoretical, but interesting to note.

Re:Meh, I've seen bigger... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34038664)

Did you see the AC GP post? I've always wondered what damage we'd see if an asteroid that size is dropped from a height of 1km.

The post you are replying to was answering this theoretical question about getting dropped from 1km in the air.

Re:Meh, I've seen bigger... (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 3 years ago | (#34036556)

You're talking about an energy that is many orders of magnitude lower. Maximum velocity before the rock hits ground or ocean is about 150 m/s. In comparison, asteroids from space would be coming in at around 35 km/s. That's more than three orders of magnitude faster. The energy released by the collision would be the square of velocity times mass, so you're looking at least at six orders of magnitude more energy released in a real asteroid collision than in a "oops, we dropped it!" impact.

Re:Meh, I've seen bigger... (1)

jefe7777 (411081) | more than 3 years ago | (#34039674)

we could lay you down, and fire a bullet at your head from about a 1000 meters up. or we could drop the bullet on your head from a distance of 10 meters. one will hurt. the other, you won't feel a thing...

Re:Meh, I've seen bigger... (2, Funny)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 3 years ago | (#34035878)

Seriously, a 80-160 km crater is not giant. Big, okay, they don't form every day, but there are much bigger craters than that. Like Menrva on Titan.

Oh, sure, sure, but you really had to hike there before all the tourists discovered it and ruined the local culture.

Re:Meh, I've seen bigger... (2, Insightful)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 3 years ago | (#34036630)

Seriously, a 80-160 km crater is not giant. Big, okay, they don't form every day, but there are much bigger craters than that. Like Menrva on Titan.

Nobody is saying this is the biggest crater ever created in the solar system.

But, they are saying that anything which creates a crater of that size on Earth is going to make one hell of a mess. From TFA:

"Nothing within a few hundred kilometres of the blast would have survived, but more importantly the climate of the entire Earth would have been changed. It would have filled the atmosphere with so much dust that sunlight would be obscured, possibly for several years, killing a large amount of plant life on which animals obviously rely, thereby causing a global kill event - although perhaps not on the scale of the impact that wiped out the dinosaurs.

"If such an impact occurred now, the majority of the human population would be wiped out, through the consequent reduction in our ability to grow crops," he added.

In this case, "big" is relative. And, me, I'd call this pretty damned big in terms of what it actually signifies.

You can niggle over the fact that Titan has a bigger crater if you like. Me, I wouldn't want to be around when something like this happened. Have you gotten so jaded with this stuff as to lose track of what it actually means?

Re:Meh, I've seen bigger... (1)

volcanopele (537152) | more than 3 years ago | (#34041466)

Sorry, this was a bit of an inside joke. I am a planetary geologist, so yes, it is pretty interesting when we can add another large impact basin to the ones we can study right here on Earth.

The joke comes from the first time I went on a field trip to Meteor Crater east of Flagstaff, Arizona. Because I've done some work on the eroded impact craters of Titan, all I said was "Meh, I've seen bigger" because all the crater on Titan are bigger than the mile-wide Barringer crater.

A lot to discover.. (1)

sosaited (1925622) | more than 3 years ago | (#34035508)

This makes you wonder how many possible asteroid impacts happened in the Ocean.

Re:A lot to discover.. (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 3 years ago | (#34035528)

Some people reckon the entire Pacific Ocean basic and the moon were a result of asteroid impact.. the moon is actually a bunch of material ejected from the earth when the asteroid(s) hit.

Re:A lot to discover.. (1)

confused one (671304) | more than 3 years ago | (#34036440)

Not an asteroid. A Mars sized planetoid.

Re:A lot to discover.. (1)

MorderVonAllem (931645) | more than 3 years ago | (#34037150)

No, it's clearly a doomsday planet that was stopped in it's tracks by the fifth element.

Re:A lot to discover.. (1)

Mashiki (184564) | more than 3 years ago | (#34039238)

Probably a lot. Canada has 12 confirmed 20km+ impacts craters including the second largest in the world(250km). And even with the amount of land you're talking about here, there's probably another 4 to 8 dozen that haven't been discovered that are easy to identify. And probably another 10-30 dozen on top of that, which are only faint after the last glaciation period.

Obligatory (3, Funny)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 3 years ago | (#34035512)

"You call that a meteorite? THIS is a meteorite!"

Re:Obligatory (1)

Dracophile (140936) | more than 3 years ago | (#34035890)

You call that a tax bill? That's not a tax bill. THIS is a tax bill!

your momma jokes can go into this thread (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34035520)

she was so fat, when she sat on Australia the entire world went extinct.

Obviously... (2)

jhesse (138516) | more than 3 years ago | (#34035534)

This must be where The Lost City of Pnakotus [wikipedia.org] was located!

Re:Obviously... (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 3 years ago | (#34035732)

I figured it was the end of the Materia era, and someone just cast Meteo way too well.

Re:Obviously... (1)

muphin (842524) | more than 3 years ago | (#34043312)

until it got hit by a big ass rock

"Really big" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34035564)

'produced by an asteroid six to 12 km across' — which is really big!"

Well, thank you for telling me! If it hadn't been for this, I would've thought that this is quite tiny instead.

Re:"Really big" (1)

Raenex (947668) | more than 3 years ago | (#34036704)

I agree with the parent comment.

Slashdot editors, please remove the pandering last sentences we see too often in these summaries. You don't need to ask obvious, leading questions. You don't need to make obvious, emotional statements. Just state the facts in the summary.

Re:"Really big" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34046118)

Maybe remove the convict reference too. Racial stereotypes don't always get a laugh.

boom? (1)

louic (1841824) | more than 3 years ago | (#34035568)

Are they sure the crater is that old? I just read something about a problem with nuclear warheads.

Re:boom? (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 3 years ago | (#34035784)

Even in South Australia I am sure somebody would have noticed a large chunk of the worlds fission bombs going off. That said, Disaster Area [u2.com] are touring again so something is bound to go off.

Re:boom? (1)

bhiestand (157373) | more than 3 years ago | (#34046392)

Nah, fusion bombs would be far more noticeable.

Twist on a classic? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34035588)

...the land still bares the scars of the impact.

Kind of like at the Indy 500: "Hey, show us your crater!"

Explains it... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34035654)

Well this explains why Adelaide is a giant hole devoid of life.

Original Source (2, Informative)

martyb (196687) | more than 3 years ago | (#34035698)

There's an article [uq.edu.au] on the University of Queensland's web site (where the researchers hail from).

The land surface that the asteroid hit is now buried under layers of sedimentary rock and Dr Uysal thinks the original crater most likely eroded away.

"Dr Uysal and Dr Glikson will present their findings at the Australian Geothermal Energy Conference in Adelaide, 16-19 November 2010."

To read more about their research, see their conference paper (pdf). [uq.edu.au] (This may not be specifically on the impact, but on their geothermal research, instead.)

In short, not the biggest, oldest, newest, or any other superlative. Still, given the estimated size of the impact, I'd expect it to have had a major impact on the Earth's weather for quite a while.

Re:Original Source (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34035908)

> In short, not the biggest, oldest, newest, or any other superlative.

Indeed the crater itself is not very interesting. However, the impact that caused the crater may also have given rise to the geology of the area, and he geology is indeed interesting.

http://www.smh.com.au/news/environment/hot-rock-power-the-way-ahead/2007/04/11/1175971183212.html

"Some scientists say hot-rocks technology could soon deliver huge volumes of economically viable power, thanks to the continent having the hottest and most geologically favourable granite deposits on earth. 'There's enough energy to run the country for thousands of years,' said Prame Chopra, a scientist who sits on the Geodynamics board."

"Australia is home to all of the world's six listed hot fractured rock geothermal energy companies."

http://www.adelaide.edu.au/adelaidean/issues/9461/news9469.html

" 'South Australia has uniquely hot rocks. In fact, this State has some of the hottest rocks in the world,' said University of Adelaide geoscientist Professor Richard Hillis."

"If it's successful it could be an enormous revolution. There's enough heat stored in South Australia's hot rocks that you could potentially produce all of Australia's electricity from this source alone. That's still a long way off, but there is a vast amount of energy resource there that we will try to turn into electricity."

The hot rocks that lie below the surface in the region are indeed worthy of superlatives.

Can you name any other single source of green energy, in one place, that is thought to be able to provide the entire energy needs of a country for thousands of years?

Hot fractured rocks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34035996)

http://www.geodynamics.com.au/IRM/content/home.html

It is not smoke in the pictures ... it is steam. Steam in the deserts of South Australia, steam from hot rocks.

http://www.hotrockltd.com/irm/Content/about_hotfracturedrock.html

http://www.csiro.au/science/Geothermal-energy.html

Maybe in the near future there will no longer be nothing to see in the far north outback of South Australia.

http://www.geodynamics.com.au/datacentre/

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CdYMXGtXbEA

The equivalent of 50 billion barrels of oil, or twice the oil reserves of the USA.

Minerals so exotic... (1)

bundaegi (705619) | more than 3 years ago | (#34035716)

they're not even in the periodic table!

What would an impact look like? (1)

Viol8 (599362) | more than 3 years ago | (#34035750)

On TV you see lots of computer sims but none look realistic to me. Would there be a light covering the sky so bright you couldn't see it or would it traverse the atmosphere so quick it wouldn't have time to heat up and you really would see this huge space rock impact. And what would the explosion look like? WOuld it be a fireball initially or would you simply see billions of tons or rock being launched into orbit?

Re:What would an impact look like? (1)

pi865 (1434123) | more than 3 years ago | (#34036110)

Can't find the link, but read a 'more rigorous' prediction which mentioned a) pre-impact toasting of the planet, and b) immense pre-impact winds that would toss anyone and anything so high into the air they'd be dead on return. The article included distances though and might have been based on a hypothetical 10km body. Doesn't seem likely that most people would witness impact in a true extinction event, an absolute version of which seems more and more impossible/unlikely the more one learns about both reality and previous events.

Re:What would an impact look like? (1)

digitig (1056110) | more than 3 years ago | (#34036142)

It should go faster than a smaller meteorite would because air resistance would have less decelerating effect (air resistance goes with the square of the size, mass with the cube so acceleration goes with 1/size), but the increased air resistance would mean more heating, which would be in proportion to the increased surface area (both go with the square of the size). Overall, I reckon it would light up like any other meteorite.

Re:What would an impact look like? (4, Interesting)

careysub (976506) | more than 3 years ago | (#34036502)

On TV you see lots of computer sims but none look realistic to me. Would there be a light covering the sky so bright you couldn't see it or would it traverse the atmosphere so quick it wouldn't have time to heat up and you really would see this huge space rock impact. And what would the explosion look like? WOuld it be a fireball initially or would you simply see billions of tons or rock being launched into orbit?

A very useful source of information is the Asteroid Impact Effects on-line program: http://impact.ese.ic.ac.uk/ImpactEffects/ [ic.ac.uk]

Taking their upper size estimate (12 km) and average impact parameters (17 km/sec, 45 degree angle of entry) this would light up brilliantly at around 120 km altitude and get brighter all the way down its 10 second transit to the Earth. However you would probably not want to be anywhere you could actually see its entry. At a distance of 1250 km you would just see it light up on entry on the horizon, and thereafter the glow would be indirect until impact. THEN - part of the fireball which appear ~5 times larger and brighter than the Sun would rise above the horizon and irradiate you for about half an hour. This would be quite uncomfortable - a first degree thermal burn would develop after several seconds, but you get roasted for a hundred times longer than that, or until the fine ejecta thrown into space comes down and starts blocking your light after 10 minutes of so. And an hour after the impact a 12 psi blast wave with tornado-speed 335 mph winds would hit. This would likely be fatal.

Here's a picture (-1, Troll)

thegarbz (1787294) | more than 3 years ago | (#34035762)

Here's a picture of what it looks like:
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/3/3e/Uluru_Panorama.jpg/800px-Uluru_Panorama.jpg [wikimedia.org]

Funny though both the summary and the article says South Australia. ... They both also say newly discovered. ... Weird, this is a bigarse rock anyway.

Re:Here's a picture (1)

thegarbz (1787294) | more than 3 years ago | (#34046848)

Bah some people have no sense of humour :)

May not be from a meteor? (1)

spammeister (586331) | more than 3 years ago | (#34035824)

Maybe the impact crater is just the final resting place of Paul Hogan's acting career. Carbon dating would probably reveal around 2001.

Re:May not be from a meteor? -Obligatory- (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34036436)

"Pump your brakes kid... That man is a national treasure!"

"May explain"? "May contain"?!?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34035854)

And there may be a pony in there, too.

Heu..... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34035880)

That is so not new news,,,,,,,

crime crime everywhere a crime (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34035892)

"One of the largest meteorite impacts in the world has been discovered in the South Australian outback by geothermal researchers."

Sounds to me like they only found Adelaide.

Chicxulub is FURIOUS! (1)

digitaldc (879047) | more than 3 years ago | (#34035896)

Chicxulub crater from the eastern tip of Mexico is totally infuriated and angry by this news.
Chicxulub states "I am the ORIGINAL extinction crater, and DON'T YOU FORGET IT!" [wikipedia.org]

Re:Chicxulub is FURIOUS! (1)

Mashiki (184564) | more than 3 years ago | (#34039294)

The impact crater in Sudbury [wikipedia.org] is not amused at your piddly size.

What about the great lakes (1)

gr8_phk (621180) | more than 3 years ago | (#34035912)

Every time I see the map, it seems like if you follow the western perimeter of lake michigan around to the entry to the georgian bay and down the east side of lake huron, through London Ontario, and the southeast.... This is known to be a rock ridge, but it sure looks like a giant circle to me. They say its' from the glacier, but it sure looks round :-)

Re:What about the great lakes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34039358)

It would have to be big, however you do have the sudbury basin which was ~250km in size. Still the current basin after 1.8b years is still visible(down to a mere 62x30x15km in size).

So if that was the case the creation of the lakes would be an even older impact event which wouldn't surprise me at all.

Beer atom? (1)

NCG_Mike (905098) | more than 3 years ago | (#34036008)

Maybe it's where the beer atom was split?

Re:Beer atom? (1)

Vernes (720223) | more than 3 years ago | (#34036056)

Young Einstein wants his reference back.... mate.

more shrimp please mate (1)

NoSleepDemon (1521253) | more than 3 years ago | (#34036030)

croikey! that'd been won helluvah barbie!

Not uncommon (2, Interesting)

confused one (671304) | more than 3 years ago | (#34036522)

For what it's worth, these craters are probably not as uncommon as people think. I'm sitting inside one [wikipedia.org] right now.

Re:Not uncommon (2, Interesting)

Push Latency (930039) | more than 3 years ago | (#34036844)

I've always wondered if the odd, round-shaped area in the "Northeast Kingdom" of Vermont was one, though I've never mentioned it to anyone until now. I used to wallpaper my room with topographic and relief maps as a kid, and that has always rather stuck out whenever I look at a relief map of VT.

http://www.vermont-map.org/vermont.jpg [vermont-map.org]

Re:Not uncommon (1)

sootman (158191) | more than 3 years ago | (#34040992)

"sitting inside one"--nice. Reminds me of one of my favorite jokes:

As a Delta Air Lines jet was flying over Arizona on a clear day, the copilot was providing his passengers with a running commentary about landmarks over the PA system.

"Coming up on the right, you can see the Meteor Crater, which is a major tourist attraction in northern Arizona. It was formed when a lump of nickel and iron, roughly 150 feet in diameter and weighing 300,000 tons struck the earth at about 40,000 miles an hour, scattering white-hot debris for miles in every direction. The hole measures nearly a mile across and is 570 feet deep."

From the cabin, a blonde passenger was heard to exclaim, "Wow! It just missed the highway!"

Does anyone know... (1)

Jawnn (445279) | more than 3 years ago | (#34037348)

...if The Creation Museum [wikipedia.org] has an exhibit on this yet?

biblical proportions (1)

muckracer (1204794) | more than 3 years ago | (#34037524)

> The impact would have been impressive, producing "catastrophic effects - including a fireball, major earthquakes,
> atmospheric clouding, CO2 release, tsunami effects, [and] the extinction of species"

Thank GOD the world's only six-thousand years old. Just imagine!.... :-P

Few comments (1)

SilverEyes (822768) | more than 3 years ago | (#34037584)

Only 76 comments... this story must be not having much of... an impact!

YEAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!
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