Europlanet Webinar – Impact Cratering
November 5, 2017

Europlanet Webinar: Impact cratering – the most important geological process in our Solar System with Dr Anna Losiak

28 November 2017, 14:00 GMT / 15:00 CET

Impact cratering is currently the most important geological process in our Solar System and (most probably) on most of exoplanets. It is modifying planetary surfaces by creating gigantic scars on its surface, and it can also induce planetary-scale changes such as formation of our own Moon or changing the direction of Venus rotation. It is known to influence the life on Earth, most famously by killing dinosaurs, but also by fostering life thanks to delivering water and organic material to our planet. Despite the importance of this geological process, we know relatively little about it. It is partially due to the fact that it is a relatively young field in geology – the first crater was accepted as being formed by an asteroid hitting the Earth only in the 1960’s. Moreover, because of Earth’s very active surface geology removing signs of such extra-terrestrial encounters, we currently know about only 190 impact structures on Earth – ranging from the 13-metre diameter and only 10-year-old Carancas crater in Peru, to the 300-kilometre diameter and 2.1 billion-year-old Vredefort crater in the Republic of South Africa. What can we learn by studying impact craters on Earth? And how can we avoid the fate of dinosaurs?

The discussion highlighted that there are many different viewpoints and approaches. There is also a clear need for more information, including shared best practice, case studies and social science research, which could help us engage more effectively with our target audiences – and understand the motivations and needs of our own community too.

Read more about Dr Losiak’s work on dating the age of craters in Estonia in this press release from EPSC 2017.

Catch up on previous Europlanet webinars