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Post Info TOPIC: Silverpit structure


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Title: An Eocene age for the proposed Silverpit Impact Crater.
Authors: M.L.T. Wall, J. Cartwright and R.J. Davies

Three-dimensional seismic analysis is used to describe the detailed morphology of the Silverpit crater, a proposed marine impact crater located in the southern North Sea, UK. We examine and constrain for the first time the geometry, extent and age of the post-crater sediment units that define the crater fill. A circular bowl-shaped depression has been mapped and interpreted to represent the upper limit of impact deformation and the geometry of the crater at the end of cratering processes. Reflections exhibit a parallel onlap fill onto the bowl-shaped crater floor, indicating that accommodation space was created instantaneously without any contemporaneous sedimentation. Using regional lithostratigraphic markers constrained by microfossil and calcareous nannofossil analysis, we have dated the first onlapping sediments onto the crater. The age of the onlapping sediments allows us to constrain the crater formation to be Middle Eocene in age. This date is c. 1015 Ma younger than the previous ascribed age for the crater formation and rules out the Silverpit crater as a KT boundary impact. The age of crater formation considerably predates regional folding and accompanying salt flowage, effectively ruling out a salt withdrawal origin for the Silverpit crater.

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North Sea crater
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SILVERPIT DEBATE
About 65 million years ago, an object 120 metres wide and weighing 7 million tonnes fell from space. It plunged into the shallow sea off the coast of what is now Yorkshire. It left a 3km crater, and showered havoc and destruction on the surrounding area.
Or so many geologists think.

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1.52396E_54.13493N
Expand (37kb, 800 x 562)

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SILVERPIT
Expand (45kb, 800 x 511)

Latitude: 54.130721, Longitude: 1.523064

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Silverpit crater
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The Silverpit crater in the North Sea was discovered in 2002 during a seismic oil exploration .
The crater is about 2.4 km wide and surrounded by a set of concentric rings, which extend to about 10 km away from its centre.
Its age is thought to be about 65 million years old, roughly coincident with the formation of the Chicxulub Crater.
The crater currently lies below a layer of sediment up to 1,500 m in depth, which forms the bed of the North Sea at a depth of about 40 m. Studies suggest that at the time of the crater's formation, the area was under 50 to 300 m of water.
However, alternative origins have subsequently been proposed.
If confirmed, it would be the UK's first known impact crater.

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A deep scar under the North Sea thought to be the UK's only impact crater is no such thing, claims a leading geologist.
Professor John Underhill, from the University of Edinburgh, says the Silverpit structure, as it is known, has a far more mundane explanation.
Detailed surveys reveal nine similar vast chasms in the area, he says.
This suggests it was part of a more widespread process, probably the movement of salt rocks at depth, not a one-off meteorite impact.

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spacer.gif Silverpit structure

Silverpit structure

What is thought to be the UK's only space impact crater has been mapped in detail in 3D for the first time.
The so-called Silverpit structure lies several hundred metres under the floor of the North Sea, about 130km east of the Yorkshire coast.
The new pictures show a spectacular set of rings sweeping out around a 3km-wide central hole.

Yes, click this! Read more


-- Edited by Blobrana at 13:31, 2007-03-30

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