Only mountain effect is located

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When the locals of Baijifeng Mountain in northeastern China named the rock shards “heavenly stone,” they were right.

In a new study published in the journal Matter and Radiation at Extremes, scientists at the Center for High Pressure Science and Technology Advanced Research claim to have found the world’s only impact crater wall. And with a width of approximately one and a half kilometers, it is enough.

It is significant that the crater has crushed the mountain enough to create two peaks: Front Baijifeng and Rear Baijifeng. The impact structure – “formed by a bolide impact” in an area known for Proterozoic sandstone and Jurassic granite, according to the authors – resembles a bowl-shaped depression.

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Unique rock fragments have attracted researchers to the site. “We set out to determine the true history of this accumulation of rock fragments,” the study authors wrote. “Our research revealed for the first time the presence of an impact structure on Baijifeng Mountain.”

By studying the rock – composed mainly of sandstone mixed with a little granite – distributed on the top of the mountain, the researchers concluded that a meteorite was the only cause of the features found in place At the site, the team discovered features of planar deformation in quartz, which occurs when the crystal lattice breaks and crystal planes form within a crystal. This only happens during an effect. This is the crash pattern of a meteorite.

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Researchers Ming Chen and Ho-Kwang Mao reported that the deformations caused by this extraordinary heat and pressure event are present in the many sandstone and granite rocks scattered around the area.

The fact that this crater is located on top of a mountain about 1,000 meters high makes it the only known crater at that altitude, which is definitely a distinction worth mentioning. It is also the third known impact crater in all of China.

Determining the time of impact becomes more complicated. The team believes the granite at the site formed between 150 and 172 million years ago, putting a limit on the age of the impact.

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By studying rock erosion patterns, the team found similarities with the 49,000-year-old Yilan Crater in China, which could mean the impact occurred in a similar period of time.

It turns out that the “diagnostic evidence” unearthed by the researchers serves to confirm what the locals have known for generations: the sky stone exists on Baijifeng Mountain.

Headshot By Tim Newcomb

Tim Newcomb is a journalist based in the Pacific Northwest. He covers stadiums, sneakers, gear, infrastructure, and more for various publications, including Popular Mechanics. His favorite interviews include sitting down with Roger Federer in Switzerland, Kobe Bryant in Los Angeles, and Tinker Hatfield in Portland.