Meteor impacts are generally regarded as monstrous killers and one of the causes of mass extinctions throughout the history of life. But there is a chance the heavy bombardment of Earth by meteors during the planets youth actually spurred early life on our planet, say Canadian geologists.
A study of the Haughton Impact Crater on Devon Island, in the Canadian Arctic, has revealed some very life-friendly features at ground zero. These include hydrothermal systems, blasted rocks that are easier for microbes to inhabit, plus the cozy, protected basin created by the crater itself. If true, impact craters could represent some of the best sites to look for signs of past or present life on Mars and other planets.
A presentation on the biological effects of impacts is scheduled for Monday, 8 August, at Earth System Processes 2, a meeting co-convened by the Geological Society of America and Geological Association of Canada this week in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.
Ann Cairns | EurekAlert!
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