Thursday, June 08, 2006

Another Crater Candidate for the PT Extinction

Oz is the popular place to look for craters for the PT Extinction for some reason. The book I am reading as I try to recuperate is Extinction. The author notes that there have been at least two or three attempts to claim impact craters from the PT Boundary from there. Then while I am reading, lo and behold, a researcher comes out with this:

A massive crater in Antarctica may have been caused by a meteor that wiped out more than 90 percent of the species on Earth 250 million years ago, an American geologist said Wednesday.

The 300-mile-wide crater lies hidden more than a mile beneath a sheet of ice and was discovered by scientists using satellite data, Ohio State University geologist Ralph von Frese said.

Von Frese said the satellite data suggests the crater could date back about 250 million years to the time of the Permian-Triassic extinction, when almost all animal life on Earth died out, paving the way for dinosaurs to rise to prominence.

The crater was found in what's known as the Wilkes Land region of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet.

"This is a strong candidate for the cause of the extinction," von Frese told The Associated Press in a telephone interview from Ohio.

"This Wilkes Land impact is much bigger than the impact that killed the dinosaurs, and probably would have caused catastrophic damage at the time," he said.

Similar claims were made in 2004 when a team led by Luann Becker of the University of California reported that a crater off the northwest coast of Australia showed evidence of a large meteor impact at the time of the early extinction.

Read the rest here.

If the impact is so much bigger than the KT one, why is there so much less evidence for it than the KT impact? Amusing comment, would this have been opposite the Siberian Traps on the globe?

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