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No. 80: Mar-Apr 1992

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Possible Chain Of Meteorite Scars In Argentina

String of linear depressions characterizing the Rio Cuarto crater field
A string of linear depressions characterizes the Rio Cuarto crater field
In the January 16, 1992, issue of Nature, P.H. Schultz and R.E. Lianza describe a curious chain of grooves incised in the Argentine pampas near Rio Cuarto.

"During routine flights two years ago ..., one of us (R.E.L.) noticed an anomalous alignment of oblong rimmed depressions (4 km x 1 km) on the otherwise featureless farmland of the Pampas of Argentina. We argue here, from sample analysis and by analogy with laboratory experiments, that these structures resulted from lowangle impact and ricochet of a chondritic body originally 150-300 m in diameter."

There are ten gouges in all, strung out along 50 kilometers. The scars are young, perhaps only a few thousand years old, well within the time of human habitation. Schultz and Lianza also found pieces of meteoritic rock and glassy fragments of impact melt.

(Schultz, Peter H., and Lianza, Ruben E.; "Recent Grazing Impacts on the Earth Recorded in the Rio Cuarto Crater Field, Argentina," Nature, 355:234, 1992. Also: Monastersky, R.; "Meteorite Hopscotched across Argentina," Science News, 141:55, 1992.)

Comments. Note the similarities to the much more numerous Carolina Bays. See ETB1 in our catalog: Carolina Bays, Mima Mounds, Submarine Canyons. For ordering information, see: here.

More recently, doubts have been raised concerning the meteoric origin of these scars.

From Science Frontiers #80, MAR-APR 1992. 1992-2000 William R. Corliss