They discover a crater 250 km in diameter in the maritime area of Malvinas

Maximiliano Rocca, an amateur Argentine geologist, thoroughly investigated a basin that lies northwest of the islands.

9 de August de 2023 18:52

At the beginning the main hypothesis was an asteroid impact.

Rocca became aware in 2002 that next to the Malvina Islands there was a circular anomaly of enormous proportions underwater. That year he came across a paper published by geologist Michael Rampino, a researcher at New York University , who in the early '90s suggested the possibility that this anomaly was, in fact, an impact crater.

The discoverer is a systems analyst and dedicates part of his free time to his hobby of geology, a career he started but never finished. When he read the article he was very impressed. He was even more surprised when he searched the Internet and found nothing on the subject. Rampino 's work was very interesting, but brief, he did not study this giant basin in depth. “No one seemed to have picked up on that work. I decided that I would be the person to thoroughly investigate that place.”

The first thing he found was a map of gravimetric anomalies of the Malvinas from the Mining Geological Service of Argentina (SEGEMAR) dating back to 1997. It showed a tremendous circular structure to the northwest of Greater Malvinas, exactly next to the islands.

As a second step, he contacted British geologists who were experts in the Malvinas. At first, he found tension, little willingness to collaborate. Until now, the English had hardly paid attention to the underwater geology that surrounds the islands. In one of In the few papers, the authors acknowledged that there was something mysterious, unexplained, to the northwest. That's where they located the basin and that's where they added a question mark.

After a few months, they agreed to share data from the area. By 2004, Rocca had the so-called gravimetric anomaly maps that showed a gigantic crater 250 kilometers in diameter . He had a first indication that confirmed his presumption, but he needed more information, He required other types of maps, magnetic ones, which he could not obtain until ten years later.

In 2015 he met Paraguayan geologist Jaime Báez Presser , an expert in impact craters, and asked him if he could provide him with maps of magnetic anomalies of the Malvinas. In just a few days he gave him access to a global database of magnetic maps, which he didn't even know about. that existed.Again, in those maps there was a now positive anomaly of magnetic values, consistent with his theory.

I remember that when I saw those maps of Jaime I thought: “ I can't believe it...this fits perfectly with a colossal impact crater ” - he commented -. The structure to the northwest of Malvinas is almost a copy of the Chicxulub crater in Yucatán. , Mexico, 200 kilometers in diameter and also covered by younger sediments. It is the impact that killed the dinosaurs 66 million years ago.

With that information in hand, he wrote his first scientific article on the subject, together with Báez Presser as co-author. They published it in Natural History of the Maimónides University in 2015. After that first paper, he contacted Rampino , the original discoverer of the basin, and updated him on the progress of the investigation.They worked together and in 2017 published a new report in the Oxford journal Terra Nova .

“It was very important because we published in one of the best geology journals in the world and in England no less,” Rocca recalled. The publication had an impact in the scientific community, even in the press. The Penguin News , the only newspaper that published in the Malvinas Islands, echoed the discovery.

A few years passed and, since then, there have been some advances in the research. Rocca met another geologist, Dietmar Müller, from the University of Sydney , who shared with him the best map of gravimetric anomalies in the area. “This map is for geology like x-rays are for doctors,” said the Argentine researcher.


What do you see there?

"It shows us what is hidden under water and underground next to the islands," he answered. "It is an enormous circular structure 250 km wide in the shape of a soup plate. What in geology is called a basin and has all the characteristics from an asteroid or comet impact crater.

As Rocca explained, the basin has two characteristics that fit perfectly with an asteroid or comet impact crater:

1) It shows a ring of positive gravimetric values 250 kilometers in diameter, surrounding a center of negative values. This pattern is typical of impact craters of colossal size and is even repeated in craters on the Moon and Mars.

2) It shows a tremendous positive anomaly of the magnetic field, what the researcher baptized as the “ Malvinas Rose ”, after the color that is usually used on maps to graph maximum magnetic values.

“When we put the two things together in the same place and associated with a crater-shaped basin, the logical conclusion we reach is that of an impact crater. It is the simplest explanation,” he added .

The magnetic anomaly that Rocca baptized as "Malvinas Rose" coincides with the location of the crater located under water

A few years ago, Rocca considered the impact of an asteroid as his main hypothesis. Today he prefers a comet. Asteroids are made up of rocks, mostly silicates and iron. They do not contain ice or gases.On the other hand, the nuclei of comets are rich in helium-3 gas, they are made up of ice and carbon dioxide.

Recent research by Japanese scientists reports the discovery of the extraterrestrial gas helium-3 252 million years ago, at the end of the geological period called Permian, in Japan.

By Agenda Malvinas


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