Washington: A meteorite more than 40 km wide and hurtling towards Earth at 58,000 miles an hour that killed dinosaurs 65 million years ago, had actually crashed off India’s west coast, an Indian-origin professor has claimed.

“Largest crater”

Sankar Chatterjee of Texas Tech University, who presented his research this month at a meet in the Geological Society of America in Portland, Oregon, on Sunday, said, “If we are right, massive Shiva basin, a submerged depression west of India is the largest crater known on our planet.”

Mr. Chatterjee, who along with a team of researchers took a close look at the Shiva basin that is intensely mined for its oil and gas resources, said: “It is probably the largest, multi-ringed impact crater the world has ever seen and a bolide of this size, perhaps 40 km in diameter, creates its own tectonics.”

“Work done by a research team of Indians and Americans, working with information released by the companies operating in the area, has provided the strongest evidence to date that this was the spot where the dinosaur-killer hit,” he said.

He rejected earlier arguments that dinosaurs were killed after a giant asteroid slammed into the planet near Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula.

‘Dramatic’

According to the Geological Society of America, the geological evidence is dramatic. Shiva’s outer rim forms a rough, faulted ring some 500 km in diameter, encircling the central peak, known as Bombay High.

Most of the crater lies submerged on India’s continental shelf, but where it does come ashore it is marked by tall cliffs, active faults and hot springs. — PTI

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