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Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Rare meteorite impact crater found in Australia...

Arthur Hickman's discovery on Google Earth of what is almost certainly a rare meteorite impact crater in remote Western Australia has earned him both bragging and naming rights.

Measuring 260 metres wide and up to 30 metres deep, the divot is thought to be between 10,000 and 100,000 years old and was stumbled upon in the rich, rust coloured landscape of the Hamersley Ranges in Western Australia's Pilbara region.

If confirmed, the Hickman Crater will become just the 30th officially-verified meteorite impact crater in Australia and the first such discovery since 2005.

According to the Earth Impact Database, a resource maintained by the Geological Survey of Canada and University of New Brunswick, only 173 such impact craters have been discovered in the world.

Read full story here
The find will likely deliver a lifetime of peer group kudos to Dr Hickman, a government geologist with the Geological Survey of Western Australia.

"I wasn't looking for it," Dr Hickman recalled in a telephone interview. "I was high up in Google Earth [the free program that enables users to scour the Earth using stitched together aerial and satellite images] when I spotted this little circular structure which struck me as odd."

Dr Hickman, who heads his organisation's Pilbara Craton Mapping Project, says he made the discovery last July while he was looking for possible sites of channel iron deposits - highly sought after alluvial deposits from which the ore can be extracted very cheaply.

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