The southern part of Finland’s lake Lappajarvi is an ancient asteroid or comet crater providing the first direct evidence on impact cooling rates (Source: NASA/MPorciusCato)


Impact craters may be cradles of life

Thursday, 28 February 2013
Stuart Gary

Craters caused by asteroid or comet impacts may have played an important role in the creation and evolution of life, say Australian scientists.

Their study, published in the journal Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, found the heat generated by hypervelocity impacts, takes hundreds of thousands of years longer to dissipate than existing models anticipated.

Slower cooling times combined with the right chemical ingredients provide ideal environments for the evolution of microbial life, says Dr Fred Jourdan from Curtin University and Dr Martin Schmieder from the University of Western Australia.

“Now that we know you get cooling times of a million years and more, craters become a very good place to look for signs of life on Earth and possibly on Mars too,” says Jourdan.

Read more: Impact craters may be cradles of life › News in Science (ABC Science).

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