Unleashing Curiosity, Igniting Discovery - The Science Fusion

Searching for Undiscovered Craters to Uncover Earth’s Ancient History

Craters formed by asteroid or comet impacts are more prevalent on Earth than one might think. However, locating these craters is a challenging task compared to the moon’s easily visible landscape. Despite the difficulty, finding these craters can provide valuable insights into prehistoric events that had a significant impact on our planet, such as the asteroid impact that caused the extinction of the dinosaurs.

The Curious Crater Hunter: Ludovic Ferrière

Ludovic Ferrière, a geologist and the curator of the meteorite collection at the Natural History Museum Vienna, Austria, has a unique interest in crater hunting. This pursuit has taken him to remote and treacherous locations worldwide, including getting imprisoned.

Why the Quest for Undiscovered Craters?

Interviewer (Joshua Howgego): Why do you seek to find undiscovered craters?

Ludovic Ferrière: Apart from the thrilling adventures that come with traveling to remote places, what motivates me the most is the possibility of making new discoveries. As humans, we have an innate curiosity and desire to uncover new things.

From a scientific standpoint, the excitement surrounding impact craters stems from the realization that a single asteroid impact can have devastating consequences on a global scale. For instance, the Chicxulub impactor, a 12-kilometer-wide asteroid that struck Earth 66 million years ago near the present-day Mexican coast. This impact created a roughly 180-kilometer-wide crater, one of the largest confirmed impact structures globally, and led to the extinction of 75% of all plant and animal species.

Article amended on 15 August 2022

The image in this story of the crater lakes on the Portuguese island of São Miguel has been replaced with one of the Lonar impact crater in India.

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