Meteorites Can Spark Volcanic Eruptions On Earth: Study


Ottawa: The meteorite which hit the Earth 1.85 billion years ago dug a deep basin which was about 1.5 km-thick. When meteorites hit the Earth, the large impacts can be followed by intense and long-lived explosive volcanic eruptions. The impact of the meteorite does not just create craters but also triggers volcanic eruptions on the Earth.

The researchers studied rocks filling of one of the largest preserved ‘impact structures’ on the planet, located in Sudbury, Ontario, Canada. They found that after the impact of the meteorite, the rocks had melted. There were also volcanic fragments.

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It is the second-largest known impact crater or astrobleme on the Earth. Not just that but it is also considered to be one of the oldest.

The research which was published in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets, showed that the composition of the volcanic fragments changed over the course of time.

Right after the impact of meteorite, volcanism was directly related to the melting of Earth’s crust. However, with time, volcanism appeared to have been fed by magma coming from deeper levels within Earth.

This is an important finding, because it means that the magma sourcing the volcanoes was changing with time. The reason for the excitement is that the effect of large impacts on the early Earth could be more serious than previously considered,” said Balz Kamber, Professor at Trinity College Dublin in Ireland.

On the early the Earth there was a relatively brief period during which roughly 150 very large impacts occurred whereas only a handful have hit Earth since then.

“The intense bombardment of the early the Earth had destructive effects on the planet’s surface but it may also have brought up material from the planet’s interior, which shaped the overall structure of the planet,” Kamber said.