An international team of scientists led by renowned geologist Kerry Sie has discovered the site of the likely fall of a meteorite, considered the largest ever to arrive on Earth. It happened 800, 000 years ago, the "alien from space" had a diameter of almost 2 km, and its debris was scattered over 10% of the planet's surface. Scientists have long been puzzled by this mystery: where are the same tektites in Asia, Australia and Antarctica - glass balls formed during the strongest meteorite impacts?
One of the problems in searching for a crater in such cases is its small size. Although debris and tektites were scattered over a very large area, the crater itself, according to calculations, is hardly wider than 2 km and should have a depth of about 90 m. This is too small for a trace on the earth's surface to persist for thousands of years, despite seismic activity and erosion. It is unlikely that the crater today looks like a funnel, it is more likely to be buried under a layer of soil and debris.
Two Tektite Samples
The researchers focused on finding sites with ancient lava flows, which eventually led them to the Bolaven Plateau in southern Laos. A lava field with an area of 6, 000 square meters was discovered here. km and a depth of more than 300 m, abundantly dotted with tektites. The chemical properties and age of the objects matched those found on other continents, and further study revealed a gravitational anomaly under the lava layer.
The materials formed by the impact of the meteorite are lighter than the earth's rocks, so when the debris fell back and filled the crater, a zone of low material density was formed. The detectors showed that it has an elliptical shape with a length of 18 km, a width of 13 km and a depth of 90 m. The shape of the crater indicated the direction of the impact, and there, at a distance of 19 km, traces of a proximal ejection were found - the soil that the meteorite squeezed out on impact and pushed away. Now it's up to a little - to go deeper a few hundred meters and take samples from the alleged crater itself to confirm the hypothesis.
The place of the meteorite fall on the Bolaven plateau in Laos