Ancient Impact Crater Discovered in Spain

Oct 5, 2022 | Asteroids, Conferences, Daily Space, Earth

Last week, we shared a story about how a two-billion-year-old South African crater is more extensive than originally thought with a much larger impactor than originally calculated. We mentioned how difficult it is to measure ancient craters because of all that erosion does to hide the evidence. It’s also difficult to just find impact craters; however, at the Europlanet Science Congress last week, researchers shared their evidence for the discovery of a probable impact crater in Spain.

Ancient Impact Crater Discovered in Spain
IMAGE: Location of the crater centre and 20 kilometre radius of the area affected by the impact in the Alhabia-Tabernas basin. CREDIT: Sánchez-Garrido et al 2022. Basemap: Instituto Geográfico Nacional (IGN). License: CC-BY 4.0.

This crater, estimated at four kilometers in diameter, would be the first discovered in the Iberian peninsula and is the result of over fifteen years of research. Presenter Juan Antonio Sánchez Garrido explains: We believe that the impact event occurred around 8 million years ago. We have investigated numerous aspects of the geology, mineralogy, geochemistry, and geomorphology of the region. The basins of Alhabia and Tabernas in the area are filled with sediments dating back between 5 and 23 million years, and they overlie older metamorphic rocks. Much of the impact structure is buried by more modern sediments, but erosion has exposed it and opened up the opportunity for studies.

One piece of evidence for the crater is the presence of ‘shocked’ quartz crystals in the sedimentary rocks of the area. Shocked quartz occurs under immense pressure, usually due to an impact event.

We look forward to hearing more about this newly discovered impact crater.

More Information

EPS press release


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