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A Massive Impact Crater Hidden Underwater Near Falkland Islands Unearthed

First Posted: May 08, 2017 04:10 AM EDT

Scientists discovered a massive impact crater hidden underwater near the Falkland Islands in Argentina. This crater is linked to the biggest extinction in Earth's history known as the "Great Dying" that wiped out about 96 percent of the life forms on the planet Earth dated back to 250 million years ago.

The crater, which is considered the second largest crater on Earth if confirmed, is discovered by Max Rocca from Argentina's Planetary Society and other colleagues. The findings of the discovery are printed in the journal Terra Nova, according to IFL Science.

The crater is about 250 kilometers (155 miles) wide and about 270 to 250 million years old. The researchers found a heightened level of Earth's magnetism, which is a clue that it is an impact crater just like the 66-million-year Chicxulub impact crater in Mexico. This crater is theorized to be caused by an impact of the asteroid that exterminated the dinosaurs.

The new crater is also buried by sediments from more recent eras, which suggests that it was formed long before its environment. The scientists said that visibility of a massive, buried impact structure could explain the occurrence of both a negative gravity anomaly and a positive magnetic anomaly in the same region.

Meanwhile, Michael Rampino, a biologist professor at the University of New York, said that if it is confirmed that the proposed crater could be 250 million years old, this could be associated with the biggest mass extinction ever, which was the Permian extinctions that wiped out over 90 percent of all species. He added that if the Falkland Basin could really be an impact crater, then it could have the most telling features and one of the largest known, as noted by Strange Sounds.

Vredefort crater that is in South Africa is the biggest known crater on Earth. It measures about 300 kilometers (190 miles) across and dated back to around 2.02 billion years ago.

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