Recently, researchers discovered an impact crater in northern China. This crescent-shaped crater is known to be the largest to be discovered in the past 100,000 years. According to the NASA Earth Observatory, another similar impact crater was once previously discovered in a Chinese coastal province. However, the recent crater discovered was formed when a space rock hit the Earth’s surface.
In a recent study published in the journal ‘Meteoritics and Planetary Science’, the crater is humongous – stretching more than one mile in length. NASA records that it was formed over 50,000 years ago. Researchers have discovered a large, 1000-foot thick slab of granite made up of several rock pieces that lay more than 300 feet below the Earth’s surface in the Lesser Xing’an mountain range. The shattered rock pieces confirm that the granite slab was once struck by a meteorite.
The scientists further recorded that the small rock pieces were melted because of the collision with the meteorite and were later recrystallized over time. The researchers further noted that a few fragments that contained the ‘shocke’ quartz broke down into unique patterns as the rock hit the Earth’s surface. According to a NASA report, the meteorite impact was highly intense; the observation was made based on the small pieces of glass in the vicinity.
Furthermore, the crescent shape of the crater is because of the missing southern rim – fascinating piece scientists are still struggling to understand. With further research, scientists aim to figure out when and how the southern rim disappeared from the crater, giving it its unique shape.