Location of Ancient One Kilometer-Wide Meteorite Found in Scotland

The biggest ever recorded meteorite collision location has been discovered in the U.K.
Fabienne Lang

1.2 billion years ago a meteorite collided with Earth, hitting the U.K.'s coastline near Ullapool in the North West of Scotland.

Its precise location was undiscovered, until now.


Scientists from Oxford and Aberdeen Universities discovered that the span of the collision crater is one kilometer wide; most of which is buried 15-20 kilometers off the coast, beneath water and younger rocks in the Minch Basin.

The discovery was published on Monday in the Journal of the Geological Society

Not easy finding 1.2 billion-year-old meterorite craters

Dr. Ken Amor, who led the research, said: 'The material excavated during a giant meteorite impact is rarely preserved on Earth, because it is rapidly eroded, so this is a really exciting discovery. It was purely by chance this one landed in an ancient rift valley where fresh sediment quickly covered the debris to preserve it."

Amor continued, 'The next step will be a detailed geophysical survey in our target area of the Minch Basin.'

To begin with, we must understand that 1.2 billion years ago, Earth looked drastically different to what we are familiar with today. 

Our planet Earth was mostly covered by water, and there were no living plants on what little land existed. Scotland would have been near the equator and in a semi-arid environment. That is, slightly different from the rainy and northern climate that it currently enjoys.

Most Popular

Imagine Scotland as Mars, when it had water on its surface.

Dr. Ken Amor said: 'It would have been quite a spectacle when this large meteorite struck a barren landscape, spreading dust and rock debris over a wide area.'

How did the scientists discover the exact location?

The team used an amalgamation of field observations, the layout of broken rock fragments and the alignment of magnetic particles.

In doing so, the team could decipher the direction the meteriote fragments and particles spread to other areas, and from there, were able to plot their way to the center of the crater.

And that's that.

It may sound simple, but it took years for this discovery.


message circleSHOW COMMENT (1)chevron