Geologist Finds a Meteorite Crater in Google Earth

by Fraser Cain on March 19, 2008

Hickman Crater. Image credit: Google Earth
Want to discover an impact crater, and even get it named after you? All you’ve got to do is spend a few (hundred) hours poring over images in Google Earth or Google Maps. That’s exactly what Geologist Arthur Hickman did, turning up a previously unknown impact crater when he was searching for iron ore in the mountains of West Australia.

While he was browsing through images on Google Earth, Hickman’s geology training helped him recognize the circular shape and raised rim of an impact crater. He sent a screenshot and coordinates to colleagues at Australian National University, and they confirmed that it’s a well-preserved meteor crater between 10,000 and 100,000 years old. And until now, totally unknown.

You can take a look at the crater for yourself on Google Maps.

This isn’t the first time a crater has been discovered using Google Earth. One was found in the Saharan Desert two years ago. That crater is 31 km (19 miles) across – much bigger than Meteor Crater in Arizona.

The newly named “Hickman Crater” measures 270 metres (885 feet) across, and is about 35 km north of Newman, Australia. The region was mapped by the Geological Survey of Western Australia about 20 years ago, but the crater went unnoticed until now.

Since large meteorites hit the Earth every few thousand years, and when you consider that the landscape is millions of years old, there are many regions hiding meteorite impacts.

They’re just waiting for you to find them.

Original Source: ScienceAlert


Fraser Cain is the publisher of Universe Today. He's also the co-host of Astronomy Cast with Dr. Pamela Gay.

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