Largest asteroid strike found in Australia! Beats Chicxulub crater

The largest asteroid strike of them all has been found. The Deniliquin structure found in New Wales, spans up to 520 kilometers in diameter and beats Chicxulub asteroid crater, which is estimated to be 180 km in diameter.

| Updated on: Aug 14 2023, 18:51 IST
Asteroid 2023 PQ, along with 3 other asteroids, approaching Earth today, NASA reveals
Asteroid strike
1/5 Asteroids follow orbits that occasionally bring them near Earth, and their potential threat to our planet is a concern acknowledged by the US space agency NASA. Throughout time, various asteroid impacts have occurred, such as the Chelyabinsk asteroid event and the much earlier Chicxulub asteroid. The latter is believed to have resulted in the extinction of dinosaurs. Recently, in an incident in France, a space rock struck a woman in the chest. There is in fact a continuous flow of asteroids past the Earth and a few come very close and among these are 4 asteroids that are approaching Earth today. (Pixabay)
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2/5 Asteroid 2023 PQ: Asteroid 2023 PQ will make its close approach towards Earth today. This Airplane- sized asteroid has a width of around 110 feet. It will approach Earth at a distance of 0.47 million Kilometers at a speed of 53308 kilometers per hour. According to NASA, it is not hazardous to Earth. (Pixabay)
Asteroid strike
3/5 Asteroid 2023 OE5: According to the details published by the Center for Near-Earth Object Studies (CNEOS), an asteroid, given the designation of Asteroid 2023 OE5, is on its way toward Earth and could make its closest approach to the planet today. As per the details, Asteroid 2023 OE5 is expected to make its closest approach to the planet at a distance of just 0.96 million kilometers, and at a speed of 13937 kilometers per hour. The asteroid is estimated to be the size of a house with a width of 59 Feet.  According to NASA, this asteroid isn't large enough to be a "Potentially Hazardous Object.  (Pixabay)
Asteroid strike
4/5 Asteroid 2023 PA1: Another asteroid that is approaching Earth today is 2023 PA1. According to the Center for Near-Earth Object Studies (CNEOS), this is an Airplane- sized asteroid with a width of 98 Feet. It will approach Earth with the closest approach of 1.56 million kilometers. It will be hurtling towards Earth with a speed of 72700 Km per hour. (Pixabay)
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5/5 Asteroid 2023 PS: The last asteroid that will approach Earth today is 2023 PS. It is a house-sized asteroid and has a width of 56 Feet. It will approach Earth with a speed of 28266 Km per hour. Its closest approach to the Earth will be 1.58 million kilometers. According to NASA, this asteroid is not a ‘Potentially Hazardous Object’ for Earth. (NASA)
Asteroid strike
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The asteroid strike was massive and likely occurred on Gondwana's eastern part before its fragmentation into continents. (Pixabay)

Throughout Earth's history, our planet has experienced numerous instances of asteroids colliding with it, either making impact on the surface or exploding in the atmosphere. These asteroid strikes, much like volcanoes, are natural processes that have played a role in shaping the Earth's surface. While most of these asteroid impacts involved small objects, there are some that are terrifyingly big. One such big asteroid crate was the Chicxulub asteroid crater, which is estimated to be 180 km in diameter. This asteroid strike killed off all the dinosaurs. Shockingly, a new study has found an even bigger asteroid strike crater.

A small asteroid had impacted Earth in recent years too. An example is the one in 2013 when a space rock approximately 20 meters in diameter entered Earth's atmosphere above Chelyabinsk, Russia. It detonated in mid-air, releasing energy equivalent to 500 kilotons of TNT, it injured nearly a thousand people.

However, certain major impacts are associated with mass extinction events. The Alvarez hypothesis, named after scientists Luis and Walter Alvarez, attributes the extinction of non-avian dinosaurs to a massive asteroid strike about 66 million years ago - that left behind the Chicxulub crater.

Largest Known asteroid impact found!

Now, the largest known asteroid impact structure, as per, has been found beneath the Earth's surface in southern New South Wales, Australia. The Deniliquin structure spans up to 520 kilometers in diameter, surpassing the previously considered largest Vredefort impact structure in South Africa, which is around 300 kilometers wide.

The Australian continent, including its ancestral Gondwana, has experienced numerous asteroid impacts resulting in various impact structures—ranging from small craters to large, buried formations. When a substantial asteroid collides with Earth, the underlying crust responds with a temporary elastic rebound, forming a central dome. Such domes can erode or become buried over time, preserving the deep-seated "root zone" of the impact structure. Prominent examples include the Vredefort impact structure and the Chicxulub crater in Mexico, associated with the dinosaur extinction.

Delinquin Structure

The Deniliquin structure exhibits characteristics expected of a large-scale impact. Current evidence primarily relies on surface geophysical data. Proof requires physical evidence of shock, which can be confirmed by deep drilling.

The Deniliquin impact likely occurred on Gondwana's eastern part before its fragmentation into continents, possibly during the Late Ordovician mass extinction event. This event, known as the Hirnantian glaciation stage, led to an 85% species reduction, surpassing the Chicxulub asteroid strike impact. Alternatively, the Deniliquin structure might predate this event, possibly originating in the early Cambrian (around 514 million years ago).

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First Published Date: 14 Aug, 18:51 IST