Friday, January 1, 2010

Ancient Legend + Google Earth = Newly Discovered Impact Crater

Ancient legends are not always just made up stories by superstitious people trying to explain phenomenon beyond their current scientific comprehension. Scientists and researchers would do well to really explore them, you never know what discoveries they could lead to.

"Duane Hamacher a PhD student from Australia’s Macquarie University found an ancient meteor impact crater in a remote location of the Northern Territory by searching Google Earth and following clues from an ancient dreamtime legend told by the indigenous Arrernte people.

Mr Hamacher reported to the Sydney Morning Herald and other Australian newspapers that the Arrernte people’s legend about a star that fell into a waterhole called Puka in the valley where Kulaia, the serpent, lived – has led to the discovery of the ancient crater, which the research team he is part of propose to name Puka.

Guided by details of the story, Mr Hamacher searched an area about 130 km southwest of Alice Springs, in the Finke National Park on Google Earth. He found what appeared to be a bowl-shaped depression. His suspicions were confirmed when he visited the site with a team of geophysicists and astrophysicists, who found evidence that a popular tourist location in the national park called Palm Valley contains the remains of an ancient impact crater.

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