Asteroid Crater on Earth Have a Great Significance About Mars

Nördlinger Ries is an asteroid crater, now filled with sediment-lakes, dating back to almost 15 million years. As NASA Curiosity and Perseverance Rovers search and examine similar craters in Mars, researchers discover a shocking speciality about the Nördlinger Ries. The study has been funded by the German Research Foundation. The research team was led by University of Göttingen.

What is special about this crater?

This 330 metre deep 15 million year old crater is simply the result of an asteroid impact. It was later filled with lake sediments. The crater has resemblence some craters found in Mars, like the Gale and Jerezo.

Asteroid Crater on earth have a great significance about Mars

The sediments were thought to contain just clay deposits. Now, researchers have discovered that the sediments contain a volcanic ash layer, and the age of the ash is 14.2 million years. This is an unexpected discovery, because asteroid impact has nothing to do with volcanic ash. According to the researchers, the ash was from a volcano almost 760 kilometres from the place.

Surprisingly, the ash has created a bowl-shaped structure. The centre of the bowl is 220 metres deep. This inclined nature of filling is found in Mars; and scientists can now finally explain the theory behind this structure formation.

What causes the bowl structure?

According to calculations, the sedimentation process cannot form such a structure. Only the  subsidence phenomenon can explain the bowl shape. Subsidence is the sudden downward movement of the ground without any lateral shift. It is like what happens during sub-surface mining. Researchers are still working to know how it works at this moment.

Asteroid Crater on earth have a great significance about Mars

Scientists confirm that it is due to settlement of fractured rocks underground. Studying this sedimentation can reveal more information about Mars and its craters, which has been a mystery for a long time. Drilling deep has also revealed a structure like concentric circles. The outermost circle has the oldest layer of volcanic ash. The innermost circle has the newest sediments.

About the Research

German Research Foundation funded the research and the study. University of Göttingen led the team, while the Bavarian Environment Agency, and Brown University, Providence assisted in the study. The Journal of Geophysical Research Planets published the results. Nördlinger Ries is located north of Danube, in Germany.

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