Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Where have all the craters gone?

Date:
May 27, 2014
Source:
Geological Society of America
Summary:
Impact craters reveal one of the most spectacular geologic process known to human beings. During the past 3.5 billion years, it is estimated that more than 80 bodies, larger than the dinosaur-killing asteroid that struck the Yucatan Peninsula 66 million years ago, have bombarded Earth. However, tectonic processes, weathering, and burial quickly obscure or destroy craters. If Earth weren't so dynamic, its surface would be heavily cratered like the Moon or Mercury.

Ouarkziz Impact Crater.
Credit: Image courtesy NASA

Impact craters reveal one of the most spectacular geologic process known to human beings. During the past 3.5 billion years, it is estimated that more than 80 bodies, larger than the dinosaur-killing asteroid that struck the Yucatan Peninsula 66 million years ago, have bombarded Earth. However, tectonic processes, weathering, and burial quickly obscure or destroy craters. For example, if Earth weren't so dynamic, its surface would be heavily cratered like the Moon or Mercury.

Work by B.C. Johnson and T.J. Bowling predicts that only about four of the craters produced by these impacts could persist until today, and geologists have already found three such craters (larger than 170 km in diameter). Their study, published online for Geology on 22 May 2014, indicates that craters on Earth cannot be used to understand Earth's bombardment history.

Johnson and Bowling write, however, that layers of molten rock blasted out early in the impact process may act as better records of impacts -- even after the active Earth has destroyed the source craters. The authors suggest that searches for these impact ejecta layers will be more fruitful for determining how many times Earth was hit by big asteroids than searches for large craters.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Geological Society of America. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. B. C. Johnson, T. J. Bowling. Where have all the craters gone? Earth's bombardment history and the expected terrestrial cratering record. Geology, 2014; DOI: 10.1130/G35754.1

Cite This Page:

Geological Society of America. "Where have all the craters gone?." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 27 May 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140527154715.htm>.
Geological Society of America. (2014, May 27). Where have all the craters gone?. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140527154715.htm
Geological Society of America. "Where have all the craters gone?." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140527154715.htm (accessed September 1, 2014).

Share This




More Earth & Climate News

Monday, September 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Iceland Lowers Aviation Alert on Volcano

Iceland Lowers Aviation Alert on Volcano

AFP (Sep. 1, 2014) Iceland has lowered its aviation alert on its largest volcano after a fresh eruption on a nearby lava field prompted authorities to enforce a flight ban for several hours. Duration: 01:07 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Lightning Hurts 3 on NYC Beach

Lightning Hurts 3 on NYC Beach

AP (Sep. 1, 2014) A lightning strike injured three people on a New York City beach on Sunday. The storms also delayed flights and interrupted play at the US Open tennis tournament. (Sept. 1) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Thailand Totters Towards Waste Crisis

Thailand Totters Towards Waste Crisis

AFP (Sep. 1, 2014) Fears are mounting in Bangkok that poor planning and lax law enforcement are tipping Thailand towards a waste crisis. Duration: 01:21 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Melting Ice Shelves Drive Rapid Antarctic Sea Level Rise

Melting Ice Shelves Drive Rapid Antarctic Sea Level Rise

Newsy (Sep. 1, 2014) A study of almost 20 years' worth of satellite images shows Antarctic sea levels are on the rise as ice shelves continue to melt. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins