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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)


Touchdown impact

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