Dec 18, 2017

Meteor strike may have shaped the Scottish Isles

A slice of the potential meteorite shows complex quartz crystals. Photo: Simon Drake

The lava flows that formed the Scottish Isle of Skye may have been triggered by a meteor impact, according to a study published in the journal Geology. Per the BBC, researchers found two minerals not found on Earth, but known to occur in meteors, embedded in rock located underneath layers of ancient lava. Right now it's unclear how large the meteor was, but study author Simon Drake tells BBC Radio Scotland they've found evidence of the strike in two separate locations, and possibly two more.

Why it matters: The Isle of Skye, and other features in that region, were formed when a large plume of lava rose from the ocean floor. It's possible a meteor triggered the plume, and may have influenced the geology of places as far away as Iceland and the Eastern part of Greenland.

Yes, but don't get too excited about meteor-made islands. The impact happened at about the same time the volcanism started, but it doesn't mean it was the cause. "Whilst we can't say that the volcanological evolution of Skye was started by a meteorite, we think it was definitely a driver for that impact," Drake tells Newsweek..

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