Massive meteor crater discovered by geologists in Minnesota

INVER GROVE HEIGHTS, Minn. — Geologists from the University of Minnesota have found a crater 11 times larger than the iconic Meteor Crater in Arizona.

The crater is hidden about 350 feet below the city of Inver Grove Heights, a southeast suburb of Minneapolis. The university estimates that the ancient crater is roughly 2.5 miles across and is around 490 million years old.

The meteor that impacted nearly half a billion years ago was likely 500 to 2,000 feet in diameter.

“The diameter of the meteor that hit can only be calculated based on assumptions of what we know about other craters on Earth that have been studied,” said Julia Steenberg, the crater’s co-discoverer.

According to KMSP-TV, the meteor struck near the end of the Cambrian period, when most life on Earth was aquatic. Steenberg said that only about 190 identified meteor impact sites had been discovered on the planet.

“I’ve been mapping and studying the subsurface geology of Minnesota for the last 13 years … and have not come across something as exceptional as this before,” Steenberg said in the release obtained by KMSP.

Steenberg is part of a team of scientists at the Minnesota Geological Survey who found the crater while updating a geologic map of Dakota County, which borders Minneapolis and St. Paul to the south, the release said.