That direct link has not been conclusively drawn yet, but Kjær and his colleagues have produced multiple compelling lines of evidence to suggest that the crater was probably formed during the past 100,000 years.
Kjær was able to convince Copenhagen’s Carlsberg beer company to fund radar sweeps of Hiawatha Glacier in 2016, which revealed geological contours consistent with a recent impact, including a high peak in the center of the crater. The team’s onsite trips to the region turned up mineral samples that backed up the asteroid impact hypothesis, such as quartz crystals likely formed by a shockwave.
As a bonus twist, the discovery may shed light on the heated scientific debate over what catalyzed the Younger Dryas, a period of sudden global cooling in the Northern Hemisphere from 12,800 to 11,700 years ago. A 2007 study suggested that the Younger Dryas could have been set off by an asteroid impact that plunged the hemisphere into ecological disarray and helped wipe out megafauna species like mammoths.
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