60 Million Year Old Meteorite Impact Found In Scotland

Posted: Dec 17 2017, 2:18pm CST | by , in News | Latest Science News

 
60 Million Year Old Meteorite Impact Found in Scotland
Credit: Simon Drake

Researchers suggest that rock deposits found in Isle of Skye contain rare minerals straight from outer space

Geologists have found evidence of a 60 million years old meteorite impact in a Scotland's Isle of Skye.

The team was actually looking for volcanic rocks on a meter-thick layer at the base of a 60.0 million-year-old lava flow when they came across certain types of mineral deposits. These minerals are not found anywhere in the world and analysis suggests that they have been originated in outer space. They are possibly brought by meteorite impact.

Researchers believe that the meteorite strike had also impacted volcanic activity of Skye.

"We have found evidence of the impact at two sites and at another potential two sites on the Isle of Skye, at the moment. One of the things that is really interesting here is that the volcanological evolution of the Isle of Skye has always been considered to have been started with what's called a volcanic plume, an enormously large bulk of magma which has come up under what then was the crust that Skye was on. We are not suggesting that this may well have been assisted by a meteorite impact.” Lead author Dr Simon Drake, from Birkbeck University of London, told BBC.

The deposits contain two rare minerals vanadium and niobium-rich osbornite. Both are almost exclusively found in meteorites. In fact, these minerals have been detected in the samples collected by NASA's Stardust Comet Sample Return Mission.

Researchers also suspect that osbornite found in Skye could be the original piece of a meteorite. The presence of reidite, an extremely high pressure form of zircon linked to impacts, on a site also support their theory.

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