It’s been revealed that the oldest asteroid strike triggered a crater at a place called Yarrabubba, south-east of the town of Meekatharra in Western Australia.
There’s a brand new study that puts a precise age on the cataclysmic impact, and this shows that the crater is the oldest know one until today.
The asteroid ended an ancient glacial period
More than that, it’s been reported that the strike managed to trigger the end of an ancient glacial period and the warming of the whole planet Earth.
Yarrabubba is the place where the eroded remains of a crater that is 70km wide were first described back in 2003. This is based on minerals that have been found at the site, which showed some unique signs of impact, but there’s no exact telling of the real age of the crater.
The crystals that were found at the location hint at the fact that the crater was formed about 2.229 billion years ago.
This number establishes the crater as the oldest one – the oldest recognized impact structure on our planet.
It’s about 200 million years older than the Vredefort impact in South Africa.
The Guardian writes that “the geological record shows the Earth had glacial ice before the time of the impact – but afterwards, ice disappeared for hundreds of millions of years.”
The trigger for global climate change
The question that arises is whether the Yarrabubba impact was a trigger for global climate change.
It’s also important to highlight the fact that the impact occurred during a time in Earth’s history that’s called the Proterozoic eon. This was long before dinosaurs, fish, plants, and more when life used to consist of multicellular organisms.
In order to understand the effect of such an impact on an ice-covered world, experts used computer models. You should check out The Guardian’s article in order to learn more details.