Column: Sudbury impact crater has created modern-day advantages – by Tim Philp (Sudbury Star – May 12, 2023)

Imagine, if you will, a calm, peaceful day in the middle of a shallow sea 1.8 billion years ago in the area of Sudbury Ontario. There was very little in the way of life on the planet, and what was there was mostly tiny life-forms somewhat akin to the bacteria of today. There would be little recognizable in the landscape due to the changes that the earth has undergone due to the shifting of the continents.

Suddenly, everything would have changed. Coming down from the sky, a large comet composed of water, dust, and rock strikes the planet with incredible force. This comet, between 10 and 16 kilometres across would have struck the planet at speeds of tens of kilometres per second, hardly even noticing the earth’s atmosphere as it plunged into the ground, deforming the earth’s crust up to 16 kilometres below the surface, creating a crater more than 250 kilometres across.

The impact point would have had all the rock melted instantaneously and thrown into the sky at supersonic speeds. As this melted debris rained back down on the earth, it would have blanketed the area in rock to several metres depth.

Geology at the edge of the impact area would have been tossed aside and peeled back to form the rim of the crater. Rock from deep inside the earth below the crust would have been melted and seeped into the debris left from the impact.

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