Exploring abrupt climate change induced by comets and asteroids during human history

Hiawatha Crater: still smokin’?

Crater research team reveals tentative evidence at 2019 AGU

I’ve previously posted my frustration with the silence concerning the presumably on-going research to characterize and date this extraordinarily young impact crater in Greenland.

I’ll put that rant aside, and repeat the establishment line here (unchanged since the discovery): The cosmic impact crater creating, climate changing, 5-mile deep, 19-mile wide, bowl of molten rock is somewhere between 3 million and 13,000 years old. [cough]

A notable exception to the silence was the presentation of a poster at 2019 AGU by members of the Hiawatha research team announcing the discovery of a “potential groundwater table” betwixt the jumbled rock and the ice. They quickly follow this statement with a tellingly bolded disclaimer “However, this observation, and characterization of the overlying material, has yet to be determined, by detailed radiometric analysis.

[Why the bold? Is finding water under the ice at this location in this context anomalous? Is believing it is so…intellectually dangerous? lol]

It stands to reason that a concave cavity of molten rock hell appearing instantly on the landscape ~12,881 years ago might still be emitting enough residual heat to melt glacial ice as it encroaches across the fresh crater. Square miles of “astroclastic” molten rock might cool slowly, in proportion to their mass, over near geological time. And perhaps remain warm enough to melt the overlaying freeze.

Good on the Hiawatha Team for discovering the water and publishing even tentative results. But it would be even more interesting to hear from those same researchers directly, outside the stilted prose and cautious context of “posters” and “papers.”

One of the few bits of direct commentary on the nature of Hiawatha’s globally important subsurface was grizzled ice veteran Dr. Mark Fahnstock’s commentary below (over a year ago of course). I’ll leave it to you all to parse his words yourself, and see if you can intuit whether Mark thinks that the nether world below the ice is a smoking gun for an end-Pleistocene impact.

It’s thin gruel, but all we got.

Starts at 12:58:



3 Responses

  1. They just released the date in a paper that found it was 58 mm years old.

    So not the Younger Dryas impact we had hoped!!!

    A Late Paleocene age for Greenland’s Hiawatha impact structure On Space.org

  2. @Doug Hurst. I saw that data too. Have George and Randall released a statement on that? What’s their take on that data?

  3. There is no way know for certain the handful of grains they analyzed came from the crater impact. I personally find the whole thing very fishy given that, according the original researchers, and people with eyes, there is only 12,000 years of ice above the crater. Keep in mind the Comet Research Group never included the Hiawatha Crater as evidence in their papers. I speak for myself and the CRG has not questioned or even addressed the data, since it was not used as evidence. There is more work to be done in Greenland. Stay tuned…

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