Meteorite crater discovered
SASKATOON—Canadian researchers say they’ve discovered a 25-km-wide meteorite crater in the western Arctic.
University of Saskatchewan professor Brian Pratt and Keith Dewing, of the Geological Survey of Canada, made the discovery while exploring Victoria Island in a helicopter two years ago.
“It was one of the few parts of the Arctic that hasn’t been mapped in real detail,” noted Pratt.
“There was a map done in the 1960s, but it was a very general map so we were going in to make it a more detailed map.”
“The chances of finding a new meteorite impact are a once in a lifetime thing. So you can imagine that we were absolutely thrilled that we were the lucky ones.”
They said it took two years to properly confirm it was a meteorite crater.
They’ve produced a paper on the discovery that will now be open to peer review.
Pratt and Dewing said the crater is at least 130 million years old, and even could be as old as 350 million years.
They’ve named the new discovery the Prince Albert impact crater, after the name of the peninsula where it is located.
Pratt said it’s certainly a big crater, although it’s not the biggest.
According to the Geological Survey of Canada’s Earth Impact Database, operated by the University of New Brunswick, one of the largest meteorite craters in Canada is at Sudbury, Ont., at roughly 130 km across.
The database lists a crater in Chicxulub, Mexico as one of the largest in the world at 150 km across.
Beverly Elliott, data manager at the centre, said the Chicxulub crater is the one that’s thought to have wiped out the dinosaurs.
Elliott said the new crater on Victoria Island still is just a claim at this point as far as the centre is concerned.
Peer review still is required before it gets on their list, she noted, and it also must meet a certain number of other criteria.
“As soon as that publication comes out, we’ll have a look at it,” said Elliott, speaking from Fredericton.
There are at least 160 known meteorite features on Earth.