New Crater Discovery Using Google Earth?

New Crater in Arctic Google EarthIn response to the new Saharan Crater story, I was contacted by E-mail by an Editor at Sky & Telescope Magazine. He told me a reader had recently written them about a crater up on on Melville Island, on the northern part of the Sabine Peninsula. Here’s what Gerald Hanner wrote:

I have read with interest your pieces on impact craters — especially
the ones found on Earth. Some 40 years ago, when I was an Air Force
navigator, I used to fly a route from Fairbanks, Alaska, to Thule,
Greenland. At the northern tip of the Sabine Peninsula, on Melville
Island, my ground mapping radar would pick out a circular structure
with a peak in the middle; it sure looked like a crater to me,
although I never actually got a visual on it.

He goes on to say he recently checked for it in Google Earth, and there he found it very easily in this GE satellite photo . He wasn’t sure whether this was an impact crater. Based on what I’ve been learning, I think it is an impact crater. It quite clearly has two rings which is evidence of a strong impact. The main crater is about 7.5 km wide, the secondary crater is almost 14 km wide! One expert confirmed it wasn’t in a database of impact craters (I checked out this GE database of known craters as well), but didn’t have enough data to confirm. Can any other experts comment?
Thanks to Stuart Goldman, Associate Editor for Sky Publishing, for bringing this to my attention.
[EDIT 12:20 EST: Looking nearby, there appears to be an oval-shaped crater just to the northeast of this new crater. Also, there are other possible craters to the south and southeast. Very interesting!]

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Comments

  1. Not an expert, but it is in the SEIS database as far as I can see.
    Take a look at: http://www.thinklemon.com/weblog/2006/01/31/google-earth-suspected-earth-impact-sites-kml/
    Which should take you to the Impact Field
    Studies Group (http://web.eps.utk.edu/ifsg.htm) and David Rajmon (http://david.rajmon.cz/). Who is maintaining this database. He should be able to tell more about this find. :-)

  2. BTW: How about a ‘Claim your Crater’ project in which everyone can contribute their suspected earth-bound crater(s)?

  3. Rob Matson says:

    Posted a response yesterday but it doesn’t seem to have gone through. This circular feature is not an impact crater, but rather a salt diapir. There is another one (a bit more elliptical) a little to the northeast of it. The Sabine Peninsula is a known natural gas site, and I gather diapirs are often associated with oil and gas deposits. –Rob

  4. Raúl Rodríguez says:

    Hello.
    I am a geologist familiarized with the region in the phtograph. Not all the circular structures that you can see are impact craters. This one is a domic relief. The photo shows a salt diapir, very well documented on Mellvile Island, in The Sverdrup Basin.
    See also http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Newsroom/NewImages/images.php3?img_id=17378.
    Raúl

  5. Kirk Comments:
    Raul is correct, this is a outcropping evaporite diapir structure. See citations by Heywood and Schwerdtner by searching the Geoscience World website with keywords diapir and Sverdrup Basin. The diapirs of the Svedrup Basin are interesting in that the outcrops are almost exclusively formed by deformed parts of the Carboniferous Otto Fiord Formation statigraphy composed primarily of anhydrite, not halite. The diapirs are inferred to be underlain by salt, which outcrops at one location on Axel Heiberg Island and which was penetrated by a petroleum well on Ellef Ringnes Island. Dark masses in the diapirs are ?Mesozoic basic igneous intrusions. One of the questions of our current research is why are all the outcrops of the anhydrite “cap” when the currently exposed surface exhibits several kilometres of stratigarphic and about one kilometre of topographic relief?

  6. A better impact crater database, with .kmz.
    http://impacts.rajmon.cz/

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