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Oldest and largest asteroid crater found in Greenland

A team of scientists have discovered the oldest and largest asteroid crater in the world in Greenland.

Asteroid Crater Greenland Enlarge
A recent satellite photo shows a crater at the Free State province in South Africa which was caused according to South African geologists from the Witwatersrand university by the impact of a comet or an asteroid. A newer, older crater has been found in Greenland. (AFP/Getty/AFP/Getty Images)

A team of scientists have discovered the oldest and largest asteroid crater in the world in Greenland.

According to Phys.org, the crater near the Maniitsoq region of West Greenland is thought to be 3 billion years old.

The 60-mile-wide crater is the result of a gigantic asteroid impacting with Earth about a billion years before any other known collision, UPI reported. 

The Vredefort crater in South Africa now holds the distinction of being the second-oldest known crater and was formed 2 billion years ago.

Iain McDonald of Cardiff University in Wales, who was part of the team from the Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland (GEUS) in Copenhagen, Cardiff University in Wales, Lund University in Sweden and the Institute of Planetary Science in Moscow, said in a statement, "This single discovery means that we can study the effects of cratering on the Earth nearly a billion years further back in time than was possible before."

New Scientist explained that craters remain undiscovered because over time the land becomes eroded or is covered by newer, younger rocks. Only the deepest parts of the crater can survive.

"The rocks we see today were about 25 kilometers down when the impact occurred," Adam Garde, leader of the researcher team, told New Scientist.

It took the scientists nearly three years to gather enough evidence to support their claim. 

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/science/120629/oldest-and-largest-asteroid-crater-found-greenland