DOWN TO EARTH

About 2,300 years ago, a meteorite may have landed close to present-day New York City. The strike set off a tsunami that flooded the entire region and would have certainly destroyed anyone or anything in its path. Landing off the coast of Long Island (map), the space rock’s diameter was approximately 165 feet (50 meters) to about 490 feet (150 meters). A smaller meteorite would have exploded before hitting Earth and a larger one would have left behind “impact glass” and melt traces. As of yet, no evidence of impact glass nor of an impact crater have been found in the NYC area.

The findings are based on research performed by a team led by Dallas Abbott, a Columbia University impact specialist. Last month, the group presented their work to the American Geophysical Union during its annual meeting in San Francisco. The research is focused on sediments extracted from sites along the Hudson River that reveal signs of a meteorite crashing somewhere in the general area around 300 B.C. Large stones strewn along the riverbank, first studied by scientists in 2003, were determined to have been violently displaced; the result of some cataclysmic event (volcanic activity was ruled out). Additionally:

The evidence included deformed rocks; rare microscopic “nanodiamonds”; and microscopic, perfectly round rocks called spherules, which form when molten and vaporized rock are flung into the air by a space impact and then solidify in the temporary vacuum created by the blast.

Source: National Geographic

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