Meteorite hits on Earth: There may be a recount

November 25, 2008

Meteorite craters might not be as rare as we think. A University of Alberta researcher has found a tool that could reveal possibly hundreds of undiscovered craters across Canada and around the world.

The discovery of a meteorite crater near Whitecourt, 200 kilometers west of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada prompted Chris Herd to examine the site from the air using existing aerial surveys. A computer program, applied to aerial images taken by a forestry company, stripped away the images of trees to expose the landscape, revealing the meteorite crater.

Herd, an assistant professor in the U of A's department of earth and atmospheric sciences, says this technology can be used to potentially reveal hundreds of meteorite craters around the world that are hidden by trees but unknowingly captured on aerial forest surveys.

Herd believes that as more craters are found and analyzed existing theories on how many meteorites have hit Earth in the past and the frequency of future impacts will change.

Herd's research will be published in the journal, Geology, on Nov. 25.

Source: University of Alberta

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