In the south of the Atlantic, a crater with a diameter of 250 millimeters

Surfaces of the Moon, Mars, Mercury and many other bodies of the solar system are densely strewn with impact craters, which testify to their numerous collisions with asteroids and comets. Our planet is no exception. Over the past 4.5 billion years, she has experienced many powerful blows. Just tectonics and erosion erased from the earth’s surface almost all the cosmic scars.

Many shock structures of the Earth were discovered accidentally – during high-altitude photography, when drilling wells or studying gravity maps. For example, the famous Chikolub Crater, which is usually associated with the extinction of dinosaurs, was discovered only in 1978 during geophysical surveys at the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico. However, it took several more years before its existence was finally proved.

In 1991, the geologist Michael Rampino, inspired by the history of the discovery of Chicksolub, decided to study the gravity maps of the Earth in order to find traces of other craters. His work was crowned with success. To the west of the Falkland Islands, Rampino found a gravitational anomaly, very reminiscent of what is in place of Chicksolub. She testified that a 250-kilometer crater was buried beneath the powerful layers of sedimentary deposits in the south of the Atlantic. Rampino published an article about his discovery, but due to the lack of other evidence he did not attract much attention.


Falklands from space

Many years later, Rampino’s article caught the eye of Max Rocca, a crater hunter from Argentina, who counts the discovery of tracks of a 50-kilometer strike formation in Colombia. In 2015, Rocca received from the Paraguayan scientist Jaime Báez Presser a magnetic map of the area of ​​the alleged Falkland crater and found there traces of the same positive magnetic anomaly as the Cricker Crater Chicksolub. It is believed that it arose because of the magnetization of the rock-impacted rock.


Gravitational anomalies at the site of the Chiksobol Crater (left) and the alleged Falkland crater (right)

After that, Rocca got the seismic data, carried out in this part of the Atlantic by the oil company Schlumberger. They also point to traces of an ancient percussion structure. As a result, Rocca, Rampino and Presser wrote a joint article, which has already been accepted for publication by the journal Terra Nova.

But, although the data of the researchers and look quite intriguing, it is unlikely that they will be enough to remove all doubts about the crater. To finally prove its existence, it is necessary to drill the seabed and extract rock samples. Scientists hope that the publication will cause sufficient interest and it will help finance such an expedition.


Magnetic anomaly near the Falklands

As for the age of the potential crater, Rocca and Rampino cautiously assume that his education may be related to the great Permian extinction. This largest catastrophe in the history of the terrestrial biosphere occurred 252 million years ago. During the extinction, 96% of all marine species disappeared, 73% of all terrestrial vertebrate species, about 57% of genera and 83% of insects. Most scientists associate Permian extinction with increased volcanic activity, but there are other versions, including the collision of the Earth with a large asteroid.