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article imageThe impact crater that destroyed many species discovered

By Tim Sandle     May 14, 2017 in Science
Port Stanley - According to researchers from New York University, a basin in the Falkland Islands shows traits of a large impact crater. This could be the largest ever recorded on the planet and the one responsible for wiping out most of the life on Earth.
The crater is positioned on the Falkland (or Malvinas) Plateau. This is found to the northwest of West Falkland (or Gran Malvina) Island. The crater was found from a review of seismic-reflection profiles, together with information gleaned from gravity and magnetic surveys. The newly discovered structure measures some 250 kilometers (150 miles). If proven the dimensions could lead to the crater being declared the world’s biggest.
The combination of data suggests the structure has it aspects consistent with impact craters. These are formed when asteroids and comets collide with the Earth. These incidences have happened several times over the history of the Earth, spans 4.5 billion years. To date some 200 craters have been discovered.
Evidence that the basin is an impact crater additionally comes from the basin being buried by sediments from more recent eras. This suggests the crater was formed long before the surrounding rock.
Providing an insight into the finding, lead geologist Professor Michael Rampino states in a research note: “If the Falklands basin is really an impact crater, and it has some of the most telling features, then it is one of the largest known.”
The crater is old, dating back to the late Paleozoic Era, which is between 270 to 250 million years ago. This could make the crater the one that wiped out most of the species on our planet. This theoretical event was the largest mass extinction ever. This is referred to as the Permian extinctions. During this time 90 percent of all species were obliterated. The impact is thought to be much larger and occurring far earlier than the one that later killed the dinosaurs
The Permian–Triassic extinction event (commonly called the “Great Dying”) is an event that occurred about 252 million years ago, bringing the divide between the Permian and Triassic geologic periods. During this time most of the Earth’s biodiversity was lost. Marine creatures were particularly badly affected and insects suffered the only mass extinction of their history
An asteroid striking thee Earth is the most likely explanation of the mass wipe out. However, there are other theories, which include flood basalt eruptions, catastrophic methane release, a drop in oxygen levels, sea level fluctuations or perhaps some type of combination of each of these.
The findings are discussed in the journal Terra Nova. The research paper is titled “Geophysical evidence for a large impact structure on the Falkland (Malvinas) Plateau.”
More about Crater, impact crater, Falklands, Islands, Nature
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