Skip to main content

Science Advances paper makes an impact

  • April 2, 2021

Former AMGC'er Dr. Matthias Van Ginneken is first author a new manuscript in Science Advances describing the explosion of a meteorite above Antarctica some 430000 years ago, and the production of a touchdown event when a vapor jets interact with the ice sheet

Right: Touchdown impact generated by the explosion of a projectile (± 100 to 150 m in diameter) in the Earth atmosphere; this is much larger than the Tunguska event in Siberia in 1908

Matthias Van Ginneken, now a research at the University of Kent in Canterbury and Steven Goderis from AMGC describe the first strong evidence for the discovery of a large airburst over Antarctica some 430 thousand years ago. Such large airbursts should occur rather frequently as a meteorite explodes in the Earth atmosphere, but are rarely reported. The paper illustrates condensation spherules discovered in the Sør Rondane Mountains of East Antarctica; which, based on their oxygen isotopic signature, seem to have come in contact with Antarctica ice. Their formation, - supported by numerical modeling -, results most likely from a touchdown event, in which a jet full of projectile vapor interacts with the ice sheet. 

Atmospheric impact

Read the paper here and check out VUB Today for a summary. 

The paper published in Science Advances received a large international press coverage, CNNNational GeographicBBCBrussels TimesRTBFVRT newsHet NieuwsbladSciencenews ... (altmetric), CNN, Corriere della sera, see all the press output here

Touchdown impact

Group photo of the condensation spherules that interacted with Antarctica ice based on their oxygen isotopic composition