Science has reached a new age — One in which disastrous events in Earth’s existence might have been not just that. But also, the fortunate tricks that the Universe let happened so that one day, life would be possible on the chosen planet of Earth. They call that a ‘twist of fate.’
Scientists found the oldest asteroid on Earth in Australia
NASA helped the scientists at Curtin University (Australia) and Imperial College London (the UK) make a new and stunning discovery: a collision of an asteroid dated 2.2 billion years might have cracked the ice surrounding Earth back in the days.
There was a time when Earth was just half its age, and it was covered in thick ice. Up to 3 miles thick. Literally, it was like a snowball. They called the era Snowball Earth Age. Somewhere between Sandstone and Meekatharra in today’s central West Australia, a rock that came from out of space collided with the ‘snowball.’
Today, the people call that place where the two particles of the Universe met Yarrabubba. It’s a crater, and scientists found out today that it is the oldest one known. By measuring the melt sheet of crystallized rock that formed on the impact, they could estimate Yarrabubba’s age. There is untouched zircon and monazite, and also lead and uranium there, and the crater is all but visible.
The oldest asteroid ever found put an end to the Ice Age on Earth
Given the coincidence between Yarrabubba’s age, and the time the Snowball Earth came to an end, they’ve reached a supposition. You can imagine the thrill of it: the collision of the asteroid might have been the cause of the Ice Age ending. What does that mean? It means that the collision had something to do with the change of the climate on Earth, along with the appearance of oxygen.
And there isn’t just this one. Sixty-six million years ago, in today’s Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico, another asteroid hit Earth. This one seems to have changed its temperature by 2 °C, slowing down the global warming process that started at Yarrabubba.