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Earth sometimes hit by two asteroids at once

Posted on Wednesday, 19 March, 2014 | Comment icon 6 comments

The asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
Scientists have discovered a double-impact site in Sweden thought to be the result of a binary asteroid.
An asteroid impact can be devastating enough, but what happens when there are two asteroids orbiting one another ? Researchers believe that such a circumstance occurs much more frequently than one would imagine and that up to 15% of impacts come from binary asteroids.

Now a team of researchers led by Dr Jens Ormo from the Centre for Astrobiology in Madrid believe that they have identified two impact craters in Sweden known as Lockne and Malingen that are in fact likely to have been produced by such a collision.

The scientists made the determination by analyzing tiny fossilized sea creatures from both craters and dated them back to the same time period. While it's impossible to be sure, indications are good that the two craters were formed at the same time around 290 million years ago.

"Short of witnessing the impacts, it is impossible to prove that two closely separated craters were formed simultaneously," said Dr Ormo. "But the evidence in this case is very compelling. Their proximity in space and consistent age estimates makes a binary-impact cause likely."

Source: Independent | Comments (6)

Tags: Asteroid

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by :PsYKoTiC:BeHAvIoR: on 21 March, 2014, 13:01
The researchers make it sound like the idea of a simultaneous asteroids impacting a planet or a moon is some kind of mind blowing concept. They were clearly looking for the evidence. It's not as if they stumbled on a site and said "Whoa!".
Comment icon #2 Posted by aquatus1 on 21 March, 2014, 14:17
It is interesting and unusual though. How often do you hear about an asteroid with a moon, let alone both of the hitting the Earth?
Comment icon #3 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf on 21 March, 2014, 15:11
It is interesting and unusual though. How often do you hear about an asteroid with a moon, let alone both of the hitting the Earth? It's not as unusual as you might think. It's estimated that 10% of asteroids have moons.
Comment icon #4 Posted by aquatus1 on 21 March, 2014, 22:46
And I learned something new!
Comment icon #5 Posted by Frank Merton on 22 March, 2014, 10:58
This all took place quite awhile ago.
Comment icon #6 Posted by aquatus1 on 22 March, 2014, 12:37
One...would imagine.

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