An important geothermal resource area in Australia has been found to have a less known, asteroid-related history, as Dr. Tongui§ Uysal from the University of Queensland did some research on the energy capabilities of the Cooper Basin.
Located at the border between Queensland and South Australia, the place is thought of being hit by an asteroid more than 300 million years ago. The impact created an 80 km-wide shock zone and is supposed of being the second-largest asteroid that ever hit Australia.
Through microscope examination, Dr. Andrew Glikson, from the Australian National University found that the rock deformations were the result of an asteroid impact, just as Dr. Uysal had first theorized: “I noticed that the quartz grains in the rock had unusual planar deformation features that indicated either it had been exposed to extreme tectonic pressure or a large asteroid impact.”
The scientists think that the explosion occurred due to the huge impact made underground water boil and induced some chemical and mineralogy changes in the surrounding rocks, resulting in the reconcentration of various heat-producing elements. Thus, the Cooper Basin became a geothermally-active area.
Uysal says they need further lab testing of samples collected from deeper layers of rock (extracted by geothermal drillers) to figure out what size the impact area had and the sizes of the asteroid. The largest one to have ever hit Australia is known to have had some 12 km across, some 360 million years ago.