Scientists discover huge meteor crater in China's Heilongjiang province

The study finds that the Yilan crater was formed on Cretaceous granite bedrock

A new study, published online in the Chinese Science Bulletin, said that Chinese scientists have found a meteor crater with a diameter of 1,850 metres and a depth of 150 metres at Yilan in northeast China's Heilongjiang province.

Xinhua reported on Tuesday that a team of scientists led by the Guangzhou Institute of Geochemistry under the Chinese Academy of Sciences discovered the bowl-shaped impact crater in the southwestern Lesser Khingan Mountains.

Crater in China
Representational image Pixabay

Crater formed on Cretaceous granite bedrock

According to reports, only one-third of the crater is eroded, but the rest of it is mostly well-preserved. The scientists said that most of the pit area is covered by white birch. The study found that the Yilan crater was formed on Cretaceous granite bedrock. However, the exact date of its formation is yet to be determined through further study.

The scientists said that the lacustrine deposits at the bottom of the crater that there was once a lake at the spot, which disappeared around 10,000 years ago. Chen Ming, a professor at the institute, said that this latest discovery of the crater may provide new evidence of low-altitude glaciers in northeast China during ancient times. This study can also serve as a "natural crater lab" for the future study of planetary science and geology.

According to the Earth Impact Database, there are around 190 confirmed impact craters across the world including one in the Liaoning province in the northeast of China.

Latest developments in China

Meanwhile, the Chinese scientists have also developed an artificial sun that will use nuclear fusion to generate clean energy equivalent to that of 10 suns. Xinhua News reported that China completed the construction of this reactor recently and it is expected to start the operation in 2020.

Reports suggest that the artificial sun, which has been named HL-2M, was constructed by China National Nuclear Corporation in collaboration with the Southwestern Institute of Physics. The reactor has been located at Leshan, Sichuan province of China.