Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

NASA scientists determined to unearth origin of the Iturralde Crater

09.09.2002


NASA scientists will venture into an isolated part of the Bolivian Amazon to try and uncover the origin of a 5 mile (8 kilometer) diameter crater there known as the Iturralde Crater. Traveling to this inhospitable forest setting, the Iturralde Crater Expedition 2002 will seek to determine if the unusual circular crater was created by a meteor or comet.



Organized by Dr. Peter Wasilewski of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md., the Iturralde Crater Expedition 2002 will be led by Dr. Tim Killeen of Conservation International, which is based in Bolivia. Killeen will be assisted by Dr. Compton Tucker of Goddard.

The team intends to collect and analyze rocks and soil, look for glass particles that develop from meteor impacts and study magnetic properties in the area to determine if the Iturralde site, discovered in the mid-1980s with satellite imagery, was indeed created by a meteor.


If a meteorite is responsible for the impression, rocks in the area will have shock features that do not develop under normal geological circumstances. The team will also look for glass particles, which develop from the high temperatures of impact.

The Iturralde Crater Expedition 2002 team will extensively analyze soil in the impact zone for confirmation of an impact. One unique aspect of the Iturralde site is the 4-5 km deep surface sediment above the bedrock. Thus the impact was more of a gigantic "splat" rather than a collision into bedrock.

The large crater is only 1 meter lower in elevation than the surrounding area. Water collects within the depression, but not on the rim of the crater, which is slightly higher than both the surrounding landscape and the interior of the crater. These subtle differences in drainage are reflected in the forest and grassland habitats that developed on the landscape. It is precisely these differences in the vegetation structure that can be observed from space and which led to the identification of the Iturralde Crater in the 1970s when Landsat Images first became available for Bolivia.

Impact craters can also be confirmed through the magnetic study of the impact zone. Dr. Wasilewski’s team will conduct ground magnetometer surveys and will examine the area through an unmanned aerial vehicle plane fitted with a magnetometer, an instrument for measuring the magnitude and direction of magnetic field. The resulting data will be analyzed by associating the magnetic readings with geographical coordinates, to map magnetic properties of the area. The magnetometer data could provide conclusive evidence as to whether or not the Iturralde feature is an impact crater.

The Iturralde Crater Expedition 2002 expedition also contains an education component. Teachers from around the world who are involved with the teacher professional development program, called Teacher as Scientist, have helped to design the expedition. One teacher will actually be on-site assisting with data collection.

University students from Bolivia will also be involved in the expedition. The educational element of the expedition is just as important as the science results," said Goddard engineer Patrick Coronado. "This is one of those experiments that stirs the imagination, where science and technology come head-to-head with nature in an attempt to unlock its secrets."

Krishna Ramanujan | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.blueiceonline.org
http://www.gsfc.nasa.gov/topstory/20020904icecrater.html

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht Supercomputing helps researchers understand Earth's interior
23.05.2017 | University of Illinois College of Liberal Arts & Sciences

nachricht How is climate change affecting fauna in the Arctic?
22.05.2017 | Alfred-Wegener-Institut, Helmholtz-Zentrum für Polar- und Meeresforschung

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Turmoil in sluggish electrons’ existence

An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.

We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...

Im Focus: Wafer-thin Magnetic Materials Developed for Future Quantum Technologies

Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.

Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...

Im Focus: World's thinnest hologram paves path to new 3-D world

Nano-hologram paves way for integration of 3-D holography into everyday electronics

An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday...

Im Focus: Using graphene to create quantum bits

In the race to produce a quantum computer, a number of projects are seeking a way to create quantum bits -- or qubits -- that are stable, meaning they are not much affected by changes in their environment. This normally needs highly nonlinear non-dissipative elements capable of functioning at very low temperatures.

In pursuit of this goal, researchers at EPFL's Laboratory of Photonics and Quantum Measurements LPQM (STI/SB), have investigated a nonlinear graphene-based...

Im Focus: Bacteria harness the lotus effect to protect themselves

Biofilms: Researchers find the causes of water-repelling properties

Dental plaque and the viscous brown slime in drainpipes are two familiar examples of bacterial biofilms. Removing such bacterial depositions from surfaces is...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

AWK Aachen Machine Tool Colloquium 2017: Internet of Production for Agile Enterprises

23.05.2017 | Event News

Dortmund MST Conference presents Individualized Healthcare Solutions with micro and nanotechnology

22.05.2017 | Event News

Innovation 4.0: Shaping a humane fourth industrial revolution

17.05.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Scientists propose synestia, a new type of planetary object

23.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Zap! Graphene is bad news for bacteria

23.05.2017 | Life Sciences

Medical gamma-ray camera is now palm-sized

23.05.2017 | Medical Engineering

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>