First Large Meteorite Impact Crater Discovered in Central America

Pantasma structure

Image source: Google Maps

Pantastic news for impact crater lovers: The “Valle di Santa Maria di Pantasma,” a 14-kilometer-wide circular depression in volcanic rocks of northern central Nicaragua, previously considered a volcanic caldera, turned out to be an impact crater. In a new paper published in Meteoritics and Planetary Science, an international group of researchers led by Pierre Rochette presented unambiguous evidence for extreme pressures and temperatures. The occurrence of shock-produced glass at the crater and evidence for the high-pressure minerals coesite and reidite together make a convincing case for the impact interpretation. The Pantasma crater formed some 815,000 years ago and may potentially be the source crater for tektites of similar age found in Belize, some 500 kilometers northwest. READ MORE ยป