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New Research Suggests Two Meteors Fell in the Same Spot Millions of Years Apart

Source : | 12 July 2016 |  Arts & Culture | 585 views


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By Alexandra Krauska

Rabat – Evidence found in the High Atlas Mountains suggests that two meteors fell in the exact same place, potentially millions of years apart. Seven scientists from an international team lead by a researcher at the Hassan II University in Casablanca studied the impact site and found that the impact structure is much older than the meteorite fragments found at the site.

Large meteorites are not decelerated by the atmosphere, so may create impact structures or “shatter cones” when they land. Meteorites are not usually found at impact sites because they are molten or vaporized upon impact, and they are rapidly eroded or broken down by Earth’s environment.

This particular site, outside the Village of Agoudal in the High Atlas Mountains, had meteorite fragments at the site, and it was assumed that the meteorite fragments created the impact structure. The new research, which was published by Professor Hasnaa Chennaoui Aoudjehane and the research team in the science journal “Meteoritics and Planetary Science” on June 2016, claims that the impact structure was already present when a second meteor hit the same spot, leaving behind the fragments.

The estimated diameter of the original impact structure is between 1 and 3 km. Scientists used the average rate of erosion in the High Atlas Mountains to estimate how old the structures are. Based on how much the structure wore down over time, the impact structure is probably 1.25 to 3.75 million years old. This makes the impact structure much older than the meteorite fragments found in the same site.

Discoveries like this can help scientists better understand the impact of a meteor falling to Earth. Research will continue to determine how life in the region was affected at the time of the impact.

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