Crater confirmed underneath Decorah - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Crater confirmed underneath Decorah


The national spotlight in on Decorah, Iowa, after researchers confirmed Tuesday that the city sits on top of a large crater.

"It's just one more reason to add Decorah to the map in terms of unique geology and other unique features," said Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies/Chemistry at Luther College, Laura Peterson.

Recent aerial surveys conducted by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) confirm a hypothesis set a few years ago by geologists that a meteorite crashed into the land Decorah has been built on.

USGS reports indicate the crater was created about 470-million years ago.

"There's only 184 known, documented meteor impact craters on the earth's surface. So you don't find them everywhere," said Peterson.

Peterson said the aerial surveys provided unprecedented imaging of the crater.

Researchers with USGS have spent the past couple of months compiling data and imaging of rock layers from the air.

"We don't have any plans for more work in the Decorah area, but we will be working on these new airborne data for quite a while. The airborne effort was the big data-acquisition phase of our work, and now we are getting to work on the interpretation" said
Geophysicist with the U.S. Geological Survey Benjamin Drenth.
The full release from USGS on the crater confirmation can be found here.


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