A crater in Arizona is evidence of the universe's evil curve

  • Different crater shapes can be found throughout the solar system, and these variations can be formed by a variety of factors that influence impact.

  • Although speed is one of the key components, a new study looks at previously overlooked features, such as the meteorite's rotation or its cinder-like composition.

  • This study reveals that impact craters like Barringer Crater in Arizona may have been formed by rapidly rotating, unbound meteorites.


The Earth is not full of holes like the Moon Mars—thanks to Earth's mesosphere, which protects the planet from large meteorites—but that doesn't mean impacts aren't possible. Just ask dinosaurs.

A “modern” example of this impact exception is: Barringer holeIt is located 37 miles east of Flagstaff in the northern Arizona desert. Although it was formed about 50,000 years ago, Impact site It is remarkably well preserved, thanks to its barren surroundings.

By analyzing this impact crater by creating several computer simulations, scientists from Brazil's University of Campinas determined that the iron- and nickel-rich meteorite was likely rotating rapidly when it struck Earth during the late Pleistocene. It is also likely that they were made up of masses of smaller rocks loosely held together gravity. The results of the study were published last month In the magazine Physical review e.



“We performed discrete element method calculations of granular projectiles affecting cohesive grains for different bonding pressures, initial rotations, and initial heights,” the paper states. “Our results shed light on the dispersion of the projectile material and its different shapes Drilling on Earth and other planetary environments.

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Archaeological digs are not one-size-fits-all Geological feature. Some are deep and narrow (with different formations within the same hole), others, Like the Barringer Holewide and shallow – which is basically your mind's definition of impact location.

To determine how meteorites formed these differently shaped holes (apart from simple speed), the researchers created simulations with virtual projectiles that were groups of 2,000 small balls. This digital space detritus was then “projected” onto a grainy layer representing the Earth's surface. What the researchers discovered while doing this is that the rotation is fast Asteroids We created wide, shallow sites, just like those at Barringer Crater. That means, to borrow baseball parlance, the meteorite — called Canyon Diablo — was more akin to a wicked curveball than a kind of non-spinning fastball.



However, the foundational aggregate that formed Canyon Diablo It was also loosely bound, and when the meteorite hit the surface, some of the energy Impact was used to break up the rubble bonds. While it scattered debris, it did so with less energy and did not dig as far. Fast rotating asteroids could Create deeper nozzles, but the components must be tightly connected, unlike the Barringer nozzle.

Barringer Crater is not the only impact site in the world, or even in the United States Live Science Notes that Flynn Creek Crater in Gainsboro, TennesseeWhich was formed 100 million years ago Dinosaurs walked on Earth, and was likely created by a similar curveball-type meteorite.

With many different impact locations throughout Solar Systemeach with different “erecting” properties, should the universe at least Be in the running for an honorary medal Cy Young Award.

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