Ancient Meteorite Impact Crater Buried under Bolaven Volcanic Field, Laos

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Ancient Meteorite Impact Crater Buried under Bolaven Volcanic Field, Laos

A group of researchers has concluded that Laos’s Bolaven volcanic field is likely to be the impact site of a meteorite that struck the Earth approximately 790,000 years ago.

Prior research revealed that about 790,000 years ago, a large meteorite struck the Earth in the Eastern Hemisphere with debris strewn across the planet’s surface. Bits of debris, such as tektites, have been found in places as far as Antarctica and Australia.

A new study says that the meteorite struck in southern Laos, creating a massive impact crater some 12km in width.

Southeast Asia had been suspected as the likely impact site, but the exact location has been unknown until now. Researchers believed that the reason the crater had not been found is that it was hidden beneath a volcanic field.

A new study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United Staes of America pinpointed, for the first time, the likely location of the impact site in Southeast Asia under the Bolaven Plateau in Laos.

Meteorite Impact Crater under Bolaven Plateau

The researchers outlined four lines of evidence, including the geochemistry of the tektites in the vicinity of the Bolaven volcanic field, the presence of a 13- to 17-kilometer crater and an outcrop of crudely layered sandstone and mudstone boulders 10 to 20 kilometers from the Bolaven volcanic field.

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