Meteorite impact may have triggered giant tsunami in New York 2,300 yrs ago

January 1st, 2009 - 1:41 pm ICT by ANI  

National Geographic

Washington, Jan 1 (ANI): A new study has suggested that a meteorite impact off Long Island 2,300 years ago may have set off a huge tsunami that flooded the New York City region.

Tsunamis are typically triggered by seismic events. An undersea earthquake, for example, caused the catastrophic 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami.

But, meteorite strikes have also been known to spark the killer waves.

According to a report in National Geographic News, Katherine Cagen of Harvard University recently found signs of a meteorite impact in sediments taken from several sites along the Hudson River, which forms the border between New York City and New Jersey.

The evidence included deformed rocks; rare microscopic nanodiamonds; and microscopic, perfectly round rocks called spherules, which form when molten and vaporized rock are flung into the air by a space impact and then solidify in the temporary vacuum created by the blast.

Nothing as big as a crater has been found, but according to Dallas Abbott, a Columbia University impact expert, the space rock would have had a diameter of between about 165 feet (50 meters) and 490 feet (150 meters).

Any smaller, and a major wave would not have formed and the rock would have exploded before hitting Earth. Any bigger, and the strike would have created impact glassforged in the extreme heat of an impact blastwhich has not been found as of yet.

The Hudson River samples date back to around 300 B.C.the same age as some out-of-place gravel deposits discovered by another team of scientists on Long Island in 2003.

The rocky layer is several inches thick and appears to have been transported from a gravel-rich coast a few hundred meters away.

The individual rocks are quite largesome as big as fistsso normal waves or wind could not have carried the stones, according to Vanderbilts Goodbred.

At the time of the gravel discovery, Goodbred suggested that the rocks had been moved by one of two phenomena: a very big storm or a tsunami.

The new meteorite evidence may tip the scales toward the tsunami theory. (ANI)

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