Earth and Moon impact flux increased at the end of the Paleozoic

1Sara Mazrouei, 1,2Rebecca R. Ghent, 3William F. Bottke, 3Alex H. Parker, 4Thomas M. Gernon
Science 363, 253-257 Link to Article [DOI: 10.1126/science.aar4058]
1Department of Earth Sciences, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada.
2Planetary Science Institute, Tucson, AZ, USA.
3Southwest Research Institute, Boulder, CO, USA.
4School of Ocean and Earth Science, University of Southampton, Southampton, UK.
Reprinted with permission from AAAS

The terrestrial impact crater record is commonly assumed to be biased, with erosion thought to eliminate older craters, even on stable terrains. Given that the same projectile population strikes Earth and the Moon, terrestrial selection effects can be quantified by using a method to date lunar craters with diameters greater than 10 kilometers and younger than 1 billion years. We found that the impact rate increased by a factor of 2.6 about 290 million years ago. The terrestrial crater record shows similar results, suggesting that the deficit of large terrestrial craters between 300 million and 650 million years ago relative to more recent times stems from a lower impact flux, not preservation bias. The almost complete absence of terrestrial craters older than 650 million years may indicate a massive global-scale erosion event near that time.

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